An Engineer's Ice-Core Thought Experiment

Guest essay by Ronald D Voisin

(For the Ice-Core “Near-Perfect-Recordation” Enthusiasts)

Ice-cores analysis has provided many valuable insights into past climate. We can be more confident for some of these insights than others. One troubling insight surrounds the peaks of historic CO2 atmospheric concentration. In this essay, I would like to describe what I believe would be an “ideal” description of the recordation process regarding the amplitude of the peaks of historic CO2 atmospheric concentration.

Let’s assume that the following atmospheric perturbation is to be recorded in the ice (see Figure 1). At some point in time t0, atmospheric CO2 rises from a background concentration of 300ppm, at 3ppm/year, for 100 years. It peaks at 600ppm representing a 100% spike from the original background concentration and then falls in a similar fashion during the ensuing 100 years. The amplitude and duration of the perturbation are arbitrary but, I think, potentially representative of prior real-world events (and possibly we are just now 60 years into recording the beginning of a somewhat similar event at Mauna Loa currently). So how might this atmospheric perturbation be captured (recorded) accurately in Antarctica ice?

Figures 1&2First let’s describe the initial conditions for the recording media, at t0 and prior, which might be typically found at a drill site in Antarctica (see Figure 2). On the surface there are a couple meters of loose snow blowing around. Under that there is ~100 meters of firn – partially compacted snow that has been left over nominally in layers from previous seasons of snow. The seasonal age of the bottom of the firn is typically 40 years. Under that there is glacial ice going down to great distance formed from the weight pressure of the firn. This glacial ice represents past seasons, nominally in layers, from 40 years to as many as 800,000 years. Atmospheric CO2 is initially at 300ppm.

Figures 3&4In Figure 3 we have a snapshot of the atmospheric CO2 recordation at t0 plus 50 years. During these 50 years the atmospheric CO2 concentration has grown from 300ppm to 450ppm at 3ppm/year. The latter 40 years of the 50 are recorded in the firn while the first 10 years have now progressed into the glacial ice. In Figure 4 another 50 years of recordation have occurred. At t0 plus 100 years, atmospheric CO2 is now peaked at 600ppm. Again the latter 40 years are recorded in the firn while the initial 60 years have now progressed into the glacial ice.

In Figure 5 below we are now on the downside of the atmospheric perturbation to be recorded. Atmospheric CO2 has now fallen from a 600ppm peak back down to 450ppm. As before the most recent 40 years are in the firn; and 110 years of recordation have progressed into the glacial ice; including the atmospheric peak at 600ppm.

Figures 5&6In Figure 6 at 200 years the atmospheric concentration has dropped back to the initial condition while the firn continues to pass the remainder of the perturbation to the glacial ice.

Figures 7&8In figure 7 the glacial ice recordation is complete and in Figure 8 we see how this recordation might ideally move another 250 years further into the glacial ice.

Atmospheric concentration perturbations of differing amplitude and duration would, I think, produce similar “ideal” results.

And this is what many alarmists believe and represent (actually skeptics and alarmists alike). i.e. The ice cores are often represented (by ice-core near-perfect-recordation enthusiasts) in such a way that we are told that the atmospheric CO2 of today, at 400ppm, is at the highest level ever for 800,000 years; that the ice-core data show this is so; that the ice-cores faithfully record the peak CO2 concentration which has never been so high as 400ppm.

However, do WUWT readers see any problems with this “ideal” characterization of the ice-core recordation process? I do…and bigtime. In a future post I’ll detail my issues with this ideal portrayal but for now, can WUWT readers help me by sharing their concerns and recommendations? (Let’s not quibble too much about the “Depth Below Surface” numbers. I realize that in reality the glacial ice would likely be more compact, the spikes and gradients yet more abrupt, but have chosen my numbers for graphic convenience.)

Hints (as to exactly where the future essay is heading):

There are very substantial concentration gradients to drive diffusion processes. There are alternating seasonal temperature gradients pumping away to create activity in the system. There is an, ever present, enormous pressure gradient; giving rise to a density gradient; in turn giving rise to a diffusion mobility gradient.

The high quality recordation in Figures 3 and 4, where atmospheric CO2 is higher than what has been previously recorded, is likely quite different from the subsequent low quality recordation where atmospheric CO2 is falling*. After a hundred thermal cycles, while atmospheric CO2 is falling, just where might a thinking and reflectful engineer imagine that a great deal of that CO2 would return to?

And this is all occurring at the initial outset of ice-core recordation process (first few hundred years) notwithstanding an array of big-deal in situ and subsequent recordation distortions – each and every one of which specifically and selectively diminishes “peak CO2” recordation…selectively.

*The ice-core “Near-Perfect-Recordation” Enthusiasts are quick to point out that the firn today captures accurately the ever increasing trend observed at Mauna Loa. This is a false positive confirmation. A time will come when atmospheric CO2 is falling and that is when we will readily observe the diffusion attenuating distortion subject of this essay.

Let me say that again with different words.

A great many anomalies surround ice-core CO2 recordation of peak perturbation. Some are big (several), many are medium to small. One big anomaly (signal attenuation) comes at the outset of the recordation process (the subject of this essay). And individually each one, and more consequentially when summed collectively, all anomalies seriously diminish the CO2 peaks. And there is no known anomalous process that could have ever acted otherwise. i.e. No known process can act in such a way as to not diminish the CO2 peaks; no known anomaly can possibly make the peaks more peaked than reality. All metrological imperfections act in such a way as to diminish the recorded peaks of CO2 – and quite significantly and selectively at the peaks.

In this 200 yearlong 100% perturbation example I estimate that no more that 10% of the original signal can survive the initial attenuation of the recordation process, let alone the subsequent and substantial further attenuating distortions.

CAGW isn’t just wrong…it’s entirely and antithetically wrong. Rather than climatic poison, elevated atmospheric CO2 is the elixir of all life on Earth. And misinterpretation/misunderstanding of the ice-cores has contributed greatly to our ongoing confusion. For more info see here.


Ronald D Voisin is a retired engineer. He spent 27 years in the Semiconductor Lithography Equipment industry mostly in California’s Silicon Valley. Since retiring in 2007, he has made a hobby of studying climate change. Ron received a BSEE degree from the Univ. of Michigan – Ann Arbor in 1978 and has held various management positions at both established semiconductor equipment companies and start-ups he helped initiate. Ron has authored/co-authored 31 patent applications, 27 of which have issued.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
581 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sweet Old Bob
January 25, 2015 7:30 am

I sense a reality check coming soon…. to a location near alarmist center….(8>))

January 25, 2015 7:35 am

This is right on the mark. The time resolution of ice core slices is much better than it was even 10 years ago.
But it’s nothing like varves in clay or loess. I read a paper that analysed a lake bed and claimed annual resolution.
A study that analysed a peat bog claimed remarkable precision of 10 years or so in climate analysis.
Century fluctuations would be lost in ice cores but not in varves or bogs.
Looking forward to the follow-up post.

cnxtim
January 25, 2015 7:38 am

Thanks Ronald, another angle that unambiguously shows the truth.
What beggars belief is that these CAGW “trough dwellers” liars and rogues persist with the deceitful ways, it can only be the money – how shameful they are.

Robert of Ottawa
January 25, 2015 7:40 am

I would think that diffusion would make the FIRN act as a kind of 40 year low pass filter

average joe
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
January 25, 2015 12:06 pm

I think the low pass filter model nails it. One more opinion from another BSEE.

richardscourtney
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
January 26, 2015 12:58 am

Robert of Ottawa
You say

I would think that diffusion would make the FIRN act as a kind of 40 year low pass filter

Not merely diffusion.
For decades I have pointed out that atmospheric pressure varies with the weather so gases would be pumped in and out of the firn by weather with resulting mixing of the gases in the firn.
So, the gases are mixed in the firn by weather.
This is link to one of the places on WUWT where I have made this point over past years.
In his above article, Ronald D Voisin writes

This glacial ice represents past seasons, nominally in layers, from 40 years to as many as 800,000 years.

This suggests that the age of a layer provides smoothing which could be over a period as short as 40years. However, the smoothing cannot be less than the smoothing provided by the time required to seal the firn. And the IPCC says the firn typically takes 83 years to seal.
If the IPCC is right that 83 years is the correct sealing time, then the effect of gas mixing in the firn would be similar to conduct of an 83-year running mean on data obtained from ice which sealed in less than a year.
There is no possibility of conducting an 83 year running mean on CO2 data from Mauna Loa because that data only begins in 1958 (i.e. less than 60 years) and, therefore, the ice core data cannot be directly compared to the Mauna Loa data.
Richard

mpainter
Reply to  richardscourtney
January 26, 2015 1:27 am

Good point, Richard.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  richardscourtney
January 26, 2015 4:45 am

Sealing times run from less than ten years up into the thousands, depending on the site, so there isn’t any typical time.
Regarding the pumping of air through the firn, the pressure difference between high and low pressure areas runs equivalent to a thousand foot change in altitude. If there weren’t a sealed bottom, we’d be flushing a thousand feet of air through the firn every time a weather system went by, and how many times does that happen in a year? As it is, we’re compressing and expanding against the sealed layer, so lots of homogenization at the top, and progressively less as we go deeper.
Diffusion can happen in the sealed layers, too, but very slowly. However, there are hundreds of thousands of years for that to happen. One wonders, when 120,000 years from now the apes drill down to see what the humans had for an atmosphere, whether the current 400+ CO2 spike will show up in the cores.

Reply to  richardscourtney
January 26, 2015 6:25 am

Richard, Thanx for this. If Mauna Loa comes to look something like my example, an 80+ year running mean would largely eliminate the whole of the perturbation. And Mauna Loa would look like the Future Ice-Cores.

Joe Born
January 25, 2015 7:46 am

“The high quality recordation in Figures 3 and 4, where atmospheric CO2 is higher than what has been previously recorded, is likely quite different from the subsequent low quality recordation where atmospheric CO2 is falling.”
I’m assuming that you’re holding in abeyance the reason for this asymmetry. But, if that statement was intended as logically following from the part of the essay that preceded it, could you explain a little further how you got there?

average joe
Reply to  Joe Born
January 25, 2015 12:14 pm

In a low pass filter there is no asymmetry. Deviations from the mean, positive or negative, are smoothed toward the mean. It seems this is a good model to describe the diffusion processes that will occur, lowering the peaks and filling the valleys.

January 25, 2015 7:49 am

Dear Joe Born,
Good question. I do intend to address your question in the follow-up.

skeohane
January 25, 2015 8:03 am

Thank you for bringing this up. I have been suspicious of the alleged stability of the contents of the ice cores.

January 25, 2015 8:05 am

I was in Ann Arbor in ’78! I was a freshman, finished the BSE in Mechanical Engineering. There is no degree called BSEE from Michigan, it is called BSE in Electrical Engineering. Details…

DesertYote
Reply to  Michael Moon
January 25, 2015 12:19 pm

Which everyone except you refers to as a BSEE.

Reply to  Michael Moon
January 25, 2015 5:34 pm

I think I remember you. Did you have a cone head?

Chris Wright
Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 5:38 am

Ron,
Great stuff, it’s very nice to see the engineer’s perspective. I’m proud to be a sceptic like you, particularly as the whole basis of science is scepticism, climate science excepted.
Knowing your background, I wonder if you worked for Applied Materials by any chance? I worked for Applied for many years at Horsham.
Best regards,
Chris

Reply to  Michael Moon
January 26, 2015 6:29 am

Chris, from ’92-’98 I worked for Etec Systems who were later bought by AMAT

Kev-in-Uk
January 25, 2015 8:19 am

There are obviously many uncertainties within the ice core record as is currently upheld and various physical and subsequent scientific assumptions are made to produce the palaeo measurements we all know and love. However,it is important to note that whilst the ice core science cannot readily be verified as ‘valid’ (I suppose it might in a thousand or so years time, when we could take new cores and see the current CO2 rise?) the fact that ‘changes’ in the make up of the ice are ‘measured’ it does at least give indication that actual ‘presumed’ climatic changes took place. Sure, I have big issues with the ‘calibration’ and cross correlation for these guys to produce these as past temperature/climate regimes, but the ‘deduction’ part is at least fairly logical.
I entirely agree with the implication that the ice core record is not as ‘perfect’ as some would lead us to believe – but it IS a record, and it IS useful. Obviously, the ‘recording’ process cannot be validated as accurate (yet) but it does correlate with other palaeo datasets to a reasonable degree. Of course, there is also the cross correlation between such datasets which may thus ‘auto’ agree to some extent, but I do think that it is acceptable to consider the ice core records as at least indicative of past climatic changes.

cnxtim
Reply to  Kev-in-Uk
January 25, 2015 8:32 am

Why rush to attempt to draw conclusions from measurement systems that are obviously inaccurate?
We do have ways to measure nowadays using satellite and seaborne probes and (hopefully) unadulterated reporting. So from a purely engineering perspective, since there is no valid proof whatsoever of CAGW let the collectors collect until such time as we have trustworthy data – and throw out unreliable data where it belongs, in the garbage.

Kev-in-Uk
Reply to  cnxtim
January 25, 2015 8:42 am

Not sure I follow you! The point is that the ice core ‘measurements’ show ‘something’ – of that there is no serious doubt. The systematic careful drilling and collection and recording of the ice cores does show changes within the historic ice and thus ‘something’ caused those changes. I’m not defending what they say ’caused’ the change, or how it relates to CAGW – merely that it IS there and IS detected and appears to be reflected in other palaeo datasets. The accuracy and correlation issues (including what the changes actually represent – kind of like tree rings; does increased growth mean more sun or warmth or more rain, etc, etc) still remain, of course!

cnxtim
Reply to  Kev-in-Uk
January 25, 2015 10:30 am

Further…..Since there is no Human CO2 Catastrophe, why try to prove an hypothesis that is already dis-proven? Since we now have satellites and ocean probes that can correctly give us accurate data, simply continue to collect and by all means, allow interested parties to analyse it and, when sufficient samples have been taken over time, turn it into an accurate branch of science.
In the meantime stop wasting billions of dollars on fanciful speculation.

ferdberple
January 25, 2015 8:26 am

Measuring the spike at 600ppm trapped in ice after tens or hundreds of thousands of years would be a technical marvel.
Firstly, you sample would have to be incredibly thin, not to contaminate the sample with the lower concentrations above and below.
Secondly, who said water ice is inert? It has been known for more than 50 years that chemical reactions go forward in ice, just at a slower speed.
Since there are regions of lower CO2 both above and below the pike, over may thousands of years I find it very difficult to believe there would not be diffusion.
This should show up in the ice cores themselves. If they show a smooth profile of CO2, then diffusion should be suspected./ If they show a spiky profile in excess of noise, then a case could be made that diffusion was minimal.

MCourtney
Reply to  ferdberple
January 25, 2015 8:47 am

Good point about ice not being chemically inert..
And why believe that ice stays solid forever in a glacier, anyway. Any vibration (or amplified combination of vibrations) could cause patches to melt and quickly refreeze in the depths.
And that would certainly speed up diffusion of a narrow peak… but does it happen?
I can’t say for sure but it seems feasible and over a tens or hundreds of thousands of years “feasible” may be all that needs to be proved.
However, Ferdinand Engelbeen knows more about this than I do and I await his input.

Reply to  ferdberple
January 25, 2015 3:16 pm

Ferd, the ice cores of Vostok and Dome C show 4 and 8 peaks of CO2 slightly after 8 peaks of temperature. The ratio between peaks and glacial lows is 8 ppmv/K over all 8 peaks. No sign of lowering the ratio for each interglacial back in time after another period of 100,000 years of migration.
The fact that there is no flattening of the ratio is the best proof that the migration is simply negligible in the cold inland ice cores…

richardscourtney
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 1:14 am

Ferdinand Engelbeen
You say

The fact that there is no flattening of the ratio is the best proof that the migration is simply negligible in the cold inland ice cores…

Really!?
Diffusion rate is driven by concentration difference. Please explain how the small differences are known to not be an approximate ‘end point’ of diffusion.
Richard

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 27, 2015 5:13 am

Richard, migration only stops when there are no differences in concentration anymore. But for the sake of clarity, let us say that the peak value of around 300 ppmv in the ice core originally was 400 ppmv (not the 3000 ppmv of Prof. Salby) to make a comparison with the peak value today.
That spread from the 10,000 warm years over the 100,000 cold years where nowadays 180 ppmv is measured. That means that the 180 ppmv originally was 170 ppmv + 10 ppmv received from the interglacial peak (averaged, as in reality it is a function of the distance). 180 ppmv is already at the edge of survival for C3 plants, but over land the levels are some 40 ppmv higher than in the bulk of the atmosphere, at least for part of the day.
But that is only the start.
The next interglacial back in time is ~110,000 years older, thus twice the time to remove part of the peak. To show the same 300 ppmv, the original peak should have been 1.33^2 higher or 530 ppmv. That is 230 ppmv to be spread over 100,000 years of cold climate or originally 157 ppmv. That is very problematic for a lot of plants, even on land…
Finally, after 8 periods of glacial/interglacial swings, we have an original peak of 1.33^8 or about 3900 ppmv and the CO2 levels during the glacial periods then were originally negative… Even a much smaller migration, say 10% per interglacial, gives much too low CO2 levels during glacial periods.
As most plants and animals survived the 800,000 years (and more), any huge migration of CO2 in the oldest ice cores is simply impossible.

tjfolkerts
January 25, 2015 8:28 am

An interesting thought experiment, but it is just that — a thought experiment. It misses the mark (in my opinion) is several ways.
1) “It peaks at 600ppm … potentially representative of prior real-world events …”
What makes you think that such spikes could be real? What data supports the claim? What mechanism could cause the CO2 to double in such a short time? It makes for an interesting discussion, but it seems rather implausible.
2) “And this [ideal recordation] is what many alarmists believe and represent ..”
I haven’t seen that. What leads you to this conclusion? My understanding was that pretty much all the people in this field recognize that there is diffusion that smooths the peaks and valleys. If even wikipedia discusses this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core#Paleoatmospheric_sampling), then it is not exactly a new discovery. Sure, there are always poorly informed people in any discussion, but are there really well-reasoned papers or blog posts that don’t recognize the diffusion impacts?
3) “In this 200 yearlong 100% perturbation example I estimate that no more that 10% of the original signal can survive … “
Again, i would ask what experiments support this specific conclusion? I suspect that some will be coming in future posts. It would seem to make sense to start by checking the literature on the subject, rather than completely re-inventing the wheel here. I am sure there is significant research into this already. What would they say about the ice record of such a sharp spike?

MCourtney
Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 25, 2015 8:58 am

Not sure I understand you clearly here. Let me challenge your points.
Your point 1 is that these spikes may not exist? But we have one at the moment – unless you think that CO2 will runaway forever to Venus-esque levels. Improbable and not supported by the IPCC.
Your point 2 is that this is all known anyway (which is hard to align with your point 1). Also, it misses the article’s key argument that the understanding of diffusion is not validated. We don’t know if we have it right. Let’s wait and see what the author follows with.
Point 3, it’s an estimate of diffusion. There are no experiments – that’s the point. Why rely on other people’s guesses when you can make your own and understand the reasons for the estimates? Do you have any references that challenge his estimate?

tjfolkerts
Reply to  MCourtney
January 25, 2015 9:37 am

Your point 1 is that these spikes may not exist? But we have one at the moment …
Not really.
1) This spike is ~ 80 PPM in the last ~ 50 years, which is about 1/2 the rate that is posited here.
2) This spike has an easily explainable source — burning of fossil fuels. In fact, the current spike is less than the CO2 added by fossil fuels, so nature seems to be actively working to REDUCE the spike, not create one.
“Also, it misses the article’s key argument that the understanding of diffusion is not validated. … There are no experiments – that’s the point. “
A quick Google search reveals:
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/228488078_Change_in_CO2_concentration_and_O2N2_ratio_in_ice_cores_due_to_molecular_diffusion
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/CO2_diffusion_in_polar_ice_2008.pdf
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/01/antarctic-ice-cores-the-sample-rate-problem/
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004AGUFM.C31C..06C
There ARE studies of this topic! There are various measurements of diffusion. Certainly there can always be new and better studies, but we shouldn’t ignore work that has been done already.
“Why rely on other people’s guesses when you can make your own and understand the reasons for the estimates?”
I could flip this around. This ‘thought experiment’ is indeed mostly a ‘guess’ about diffusion rates of CO2 in ice. Why put stock in this particular guess?
I have no problem with people wanting to get a better understanding. Over all, the questions asked here are important and valid. Diffusion will certainly smooth spikes, so (as people already know), the peaks and valleys will be less extreme in the ice core data than in the original atmosphere. But just using intuition or wishful thinking about how things ought to be is not going to move the discussion forward or give specific numbers for how much smoothing there will be.

Reply to  MCourtney
January 25, 2015 11:16 am

tjf says:
1) This spike is ~ 80 PPM in the last ~ 50 years, which is about 1/2 the rate that is posited here.
Are you not forgetting that global T has fluctuated by only a tiny 0.7ºC — over a century and a half?
Just prior to the present Holocene temperatures changed by tens of whole degrees. So the current “spike” probably isn’t much of a spike at all.
If you accept that answer, then the rest of your argument falls apart, too.

Reply to  MCourtney
January 25, 2015 3:24 pm

db, if you think that 0.7°C can produce 110 ppmv in the atmosphere in 160 years, how much more CO2 would be produced from 12°C increase between a glacial and an interglacial over a period of 5,000 years? Seems to be a little too much (~60,000 ppmv) to be true…

Reply to  MCourtney
January 26, 2015 6:34 am

Heavens Ferdi, it’s a coupled system. Please quit with the linear extrapolations.

Reply to  MCourtney
January 26, 2015 6:44 am

Ferdi, a 12C thermal spike from deglaciation would indeed stimulate an enormous natural source increase which would be closely followed by an enormous natural sink increase. The net CO2 spike almost certainly topped 1000ppm and likely very much more. The ice-cores then recorded a 50% spike.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  MCourtney
January 26, 2015 11:06 am

tjf – the new OCO satellite takes issue with your #2. On land the two big areas shown on the first map release shows only moderate CO2 over the fossil fuel users in the Northern Hemisphere. The big surprise is that the large heavy clouds are either over ocean areas or over South America and southern Africa. The largest concentrations are in the Southern Hemisphere, where so many live in primitive conditions. It might be that you will have to look for this supposed spike elsewhere.

Reply to  MCourtney
January 27, 2015 5:26 am

Ron, you forgot Henry’s law: at one side warming oceans release more CO2, but that is between 4 and 17 ppmv/K to reach a new equilibrium with the atmosphere. On the other side expanding vegetation uses more CO2. The net result is that the (deep) oceans win the battle: there is an increase of 8 ppmv/K and little change in δ13C (the latter is opposite and huge if vegetation was the cause of the increase).
Thus a warming of 12 K will give about 100 ppmv extra in the atmosphere, not more. Be it that short living spikes are always possible, but as the ice cores show a very slow warming: 5000 years for 12 K (0.0024 K/year!) and CO2 following the temperature increase with a ~600 years lag, there is little push for a CO2 spike…

Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 26, 2015 6:53 am

1) Biologically induced CO2 spikes attend (closely follow) every temperature transition from warming to cooling. That is what is happening just now. However, Atmospheric concentration perturbations of differing amplitude and duration would, I think, produce similar “ideal” results.
2) We are inundated with “atmospheric CO2 of today, at 400ppm, is at the highest level ever for 800,000 years”, often from people who should know better.
3) I’ll expound on my thinking in the follow-up.

Alx
January 25, 2015 8:28 am

but it IS a record, and it IS useful

The question is how useful and for what. A teaspoon is useful for taking sugar with coffee, I would not dig a well with it.

Kev-in-Uk
Reply to  Alx
January 25, 2015 8:50 am

Absolutely! – but it is no different to many proxy measurements, they have to be cross referenced with other independent data to show correlation and ‘confirm’ what they may be ‘recording’ . The usefulness depends on how accurate it is and what real time resolution can be drawn from the changes. Realistically, as this article suggests, a 200 year ‘spike’ might be difficult to ‘extract’ from a heavily compacted and condensed ‘record’, so it would be unlikely that ice core records are much use below 1000yr resolution – which for me, begs the question how do they get the oft quoted 800year time lag between temps and Co2?

MCourtney
Reply to  Kev-in-Uk
January 25, 2015 9:00 am

How does that beg the question?
It seems like it raises the question quite pertinently. What is the resolution of the ice cores?

Joe Crawford
January 25, 2015 8:41 am

Robert of Ottawa said:

I would think that diffusion would make the FIRN act as a kind of 40 year low pass filter.

I think there should also be a leakage term to handle the CO_2 diffusion in ice. There is a 2008 paper on CO_2 Diffusion in polar Ice here where they say:

…simulations for depths of 930–950m (60–70 kyr) indicate that smoothing of the CO2 record by diffusion in deep ice is comparable to smoothing in the firn.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
January 25, 2015 1:33 pm

Joe, the translation of that theoretical diffusion of CO2 in ice work (based on re-melt layers) is that the resolution at medium depth is increasing from ~20 to ~22 years and at the above full depth (60-70 kyear) the resolution broadens from 20 years to 40 years in the Siple ice core. That is all…
In the much colder inland ice cores like Vostok and Dome C, the migration is simply not measurable.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 3:20 pm

Thanks Ferdinand,
I’ve been surprised at the (small) diffusion results of these studies for some time. I guess it’s just my gut feel that tells me there must be something else going on. Maybe I’ve just drunk too many Scotch & Soda’s in my life.
Joe

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 4:59 am

Well, that’s ice and CO2.
Next time record your data.

Doug Proctor
January 25, 2015 8:50 am

So Part II will be a deconvolution of the time-CO2 series of the ice-core data?
With basic math as you describe, and the assumption (warmist belief) that the Antarctic/Greenland ice-core CO2 data is untarnished and without significant breaks (indicating sudden, unexplainable warming and ice loss), a de-con analysis will take you back to the atmospheric values.

fhsiv
January 25, 2015 8:55 am

The process of transforming firn to ice is essentially one of compaction (ie reduction in the relative volume of the air filled voids). The excess air generated by compaction will escape upward through the overlying younger layers in the firn column as long as there remains some connectivity between the voids. This flushing effect would tend to reduce the peak CO2 concentration at least during the first 40 years of a period of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration.

tty
Reply to  fhsiv
January 25, 2015 9:33 am

It’s much worse than that. Every time the atmospheric pressure changes (as it does constantly) air gets “pumped” in and out of the snow and firn, and this propagates downwards, though of course less and less as depth increases. By the time the firn turns into ice, say after 500 years (it often takes longer), the air is a mixture with an age range of at least 500 years.
And there is at least one more complication. Occasionally an exceptional thaw may melt the snow on top of an icecap and create a more or less impermeable ice crust. This seals off the snow below the crust, but at least at first intensifies the “pumping” effect on top of it. This however mostly affects Greenland during interglacial periods, it is very rarely or never warm enough for large-scale thawing even in coastal areas of Antarctica.

Reply to  tty
January 25, 2015 10:16 am

tty and fhsiv,
You guys are exactly right. Several commenters have pointed to diffusion studies of the ice. What I’m pointing to is the attenuating diffusion that occurs before ice in the firn.

bob boder
Reply to  tty
January 25, 2015 12:48 pm

I am really cunfused here how would co2 get trapped during a warming phase anyway. If we go through a prolonged warming phase how much ice would becreated out of the firn anyway. It seams to me very little witch means the layers you are locking at would be very thin and all issue stated above would be greatly magnified. If a rise in atmospheric co2 is cause by a prolonged rise in temperature then the record of this in the ice cores might not exist at all.

Reply to  fhsiv
January 25, 2015 3:30 pm

fhsiv, you forget that the migration has 40 years of time to equalize the levels. That makes that the levels at bubble closing depth (72 m) are hardly older than in the atmosphere and as Etheridge measured, the same CO2 levels are found in still open pores and fully closed bubbles at the same transition depth.

Scott Scarborough
January 25, 2015 8:58 am

This is article is just conjecture. But taken with the fact that CO2 proxies like plant stoma indicate that CO2 levels were higher than present day about 13,000 years ago add teeth to such an analysis. Why would anyone assume the ice core proxy of CO2 is correct and ignore the leaf stoma proxy? Science would not do that. Political Science would.

Star Craving Engineer
January 25, 2015 9:04 am

I like your writing style, Ronald; a bit verbose, but very clear. Wonderful graphics!
Your “hints” seem more like spoilers to me, but then, I’m a retired engineer. I look forward to part 2, and to finding out whether I’ve correctly anticipated how you’ll modify these diagrams to depict the confounding factors you mentioned.

Star Craving Engineer
January 25, 2015 9:18 am

In part 2, it might be instructive to depict how a thin dust layer from a big volcanic eruption gets recorded in the glacier, and to address why it would not get vertically dispersed as we should expect of a gas.

Reply to  Star Craving Engineer
January 26, 2015 7:05 am

Star Craver, Thanx. Probably won’t get into dust layers, but obviously diffusion is a function of mobility and dust isn’t generally mobile; except in the cases of melt – pretty much confined to the dimensions of the melt.

tty
January 25, 2015 9:21 am

“What makes you think that such spikes could be real? What data supports the claim? What mechanism could cause the CO2 to double in such a short time? It makes for an interesting discussion, but it seems rather implausible.”
Actually there are at least two potential mechanisms for such a spike, an ocean flushing event, i. e. a turnover of a stratified ocean and a major cosmic impact (particularly of a comet and/or if it happens in a carbonate basin).
And for those rushing out to defend the reliability of the ice-core record: It is accepted by everybody familiar with ice-core data that such brief events as postulated here are more or less completely smoothed out. They might be faintly discernible in the highest-accumulation cores (e. g. WAIS Divide) if they happened in the recent past, but definitely not deep in the past in the long low-accumulation cores like Vostok or Dome C.

tjfolkerts
Reply to  tty
January 25, 2015 10:08 am

Thanks .. those are two interesting possibilities. Apparently there was a smaller (50-100 PPM) spike at the onset of the Younger Dryas, but I am having a tough time tracking down any CO2 data from Greenland (which should have more snow and hence better resolution than Antarctica. http://notrickszone.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/C_1.png

Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 25, 2015 10:50 am

Quoting David Middleton:

Ice cores from Greenland are rarely used in CO2 reconstructions. The maximum usable Greenland record only dates as far back as ~130,000 years ago (Eemian/Sangamonian); the deeper ice has been deformed. The Greenland ice cores do tend to have a higher resolution than the Antarctic cores because there is a higher snow accumulation rate in Greenland. Funny thing about the Greenland cores: They show much higher CO2 levels (330-350 ppmv) during Holocene warm periods and Pleistocene interstadials. The Dye 3 ice core shows an average CO2 level of 331 ppmv (+/-17) during the Preboreal Oscillation (~11,500 years ago). These higher CO2 levels have been explained away as being the result of in situ chemical reactions (Anklin et al., 1997).

Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 25, 2015 11:23 am

@tjf:
Maybe this will help.

Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 25, 2015 1:25 pm

Greenland ice cores are not reliable for CO2 levels, as they have not only more sea salt (including carbonate) deposits than (inland) Antarctic cores, but also frequent highly acidic volcanic dust from the nearby Icelandic volcanoes. The results is in-situ extra CO2 formation, increasing with the (now abandoned) wet measurement method where all ice was melted, showing increasing CO2 levels over time…
Nowadays, they use cold grating of the ice under vacuum over a cold trap (to catch water vapor) or full sublimation of all ice over a cryogenic trap and subsequent separating of all components, including the different isotopes over a mass spectrometer.

Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 26, 2015 10:41 am

Ferdinand, thanks for your response. Does that mean volcanic activity at Iceland was higher during the Holocene Optimum?

Reply to  tjfolkerts
January 27, 2015 5:50 am

I have no direct knowledge of Icelandic volcanoes in other parts of the Holocene, but I have read somewhere that they test for the acidity of the snow layers and have frequent parts which show high acidity, dust and CO2 levels. If they use the old method of melting all ice and removing CO2 under vacuum, the CO2 levels start high and get coming with time, which is caused by the reactions of sea salt carbonates with volcanic dust… Icelandic volcanoes all spew deep magma lava, ash and gases, which includes SO2, HCl and HF. The latter is quite toxic for animals (and humans): about 60% of all grazing stock died in Iceland during the Laki eruption of 1783-1784 and 22% of the population died of famine…

Reply to  tty
January 26, 2015 7:06 am

Every thermal transition (warming to cooling) has an attendant CO2 spike.

Paul Aubrin
January 25, 2015 9:24 am

Two references, one to Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 54, No. 187, 2008
http://www.science.oregonstate.edu/~brooke/Recent_Publications_files/Ahn-et-al-08-JG.pdf
The second a blog article suggesting a 60 years smoothing
https://debunkhouse.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/antarctic-ice-cores-diffusion-confusion/

January 25, 2015 9:27 am

I’m waiting for Ferdinand Engelbeen to comment, too.
When I first read about how ice core CO2 was measured, I was as sceptical as engineer Ron. But I have, as a trusting sort of guy, been happy to accept the ice core specialists’ reassurances that their record is a true picture, and I think Ferdinand supports that.
Nevertheless I have this nagging worry that 800,000 years have passed during which atmospheric CO2 concentration has not, according to the core work, deviated by much more than a few percent: seems pretty unlikely, considering its vast and many-faceted exchange with a changing biosphere. To a biologist, that just doesn’t ring true. Maybe Jim Steele will give his opinion as well: always worth listening to.

MikeB
Reply to  mothcatcher
January 25, 2015 10:00 am

Well, that’s not exactly true, Mothcatcher. The ice-core records show the CO2 level varying quite a lot, rising and falling in line with temperature changes between the glaciation periods.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Vostok-ice-core-petit.png
The interesting question is will Mr. Voisin be able to answer tjfolkerts points of January 25, 2015 at 8:28 am

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  MikeB
January 25, 2015 11:07 am

Interesting to note that it is dust, not CO2 that peaks just before periods of rapid temperature increase.

Reply to  MikeB
January 25, 2015 11:25 am

MikeB,
If you look closely you will see that CO2 is not rising and falling “in line with temperature”, but rather, that CO2 follows temperature.
The time scale makes that difficult to see on that graph, but it is easy to see on shorter time scales — none of which has ever shown that ∆CO2 causes ∆T.

Barry
Reply to  MikeB
January 25, 2015 11:45 am

Erik, the dust does not line up at all with temperature. Notice the time scale is 100s of thousands of years.

Reply to  MikeB
January 25, 2015 12:11 pm

Pretty fair counter, Mike
Should teach me to get out of the armchair and pull up the data before commenting. Probably a false memory syndrome on my part. The graph my retrieval system pulled up has the whole record departing minimally from 250-260ppm, clearly that’s not the current picture. I certainly had not absorbed that the values at the peak glaciations went down below 200 ppm.
The consistency with which the shape tracks the glaciations also lends authority to the ice core data.
Comment withdrawn.

Reply to  MikeB
January 25, 2015 1:14 pm

The dust deposits are mainly in the coldest periods of the earth: less water vapor, less clouds, less rain and more wind which blows desert dust up the heights of the Antarctic inland ice…

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  MikeB
January 25, 2015 9:03 pm

Barry, Ferdinand,
I am aware of the timescales and that the peak dust coincides with cold, dry climates. A WAG on my part is that enough dust may accumulate in the ice to lower the albedo to the point to cause rapid ice melting. I’m also open to the dust levels dropping dramatically due to increasing precipitation brought on by warming.

Reply to  MikeB
January 26, 2015 7:07 am

Done

Reply to  mothcatcher
January 26, 2015 2:13 am

To a biologist, that just doesn’t ring true.

HA, …. more often than not it takes a biologist to get “sense n’ sensibility” back into a scientific discussion.

January 25, 2015 9:45 am

My information comes from communication with several ice core experts, including many hours with
Fritz Koerner, one of the few people to core in the Arctic and Antarctic.
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=b618ecb7-9973-4c32-a60d-60c689a60177
The Antarctic ice core record (Petit et al 1991) was quickly seized on as it appeared to show that CO2 was driving temperature. Koerner told me at that time that his Arctic cores were showing temperature preceding CO2.
1. It is also a 70 year filter depending on which glacier you use.
2. Since it takes between 40 and 70 years for the bubble to be enclosed, which year does it represent?
3. They then apply a 70 year smoothing average to the data.
4. A 2000 year stomata record and the 19th century instrumentally measured direct air samples bot show much higher atmospheric levels and much higher variability.
4. In some locations on the ice, years of data is obliterated by wind removing both recent snowfall and then granular snow abrading previous layers before they become ice. The wind blown snow piles up in other areas creating a false annual layer.
5. There is so much movement of water through the ice, that severe contamination of any bubble is inevitable.
6. As the ice becomes plastic it deforms and the bubbles are squeezed out.
7. The ice generally becomes plastic at approximately 50 m, but at a certain depth the plasticity eliminates the ability to determine annual layers.
7. I understand that at 2000m it takes 8m of ice to get a single gas sample. At that depth, 2000m represents at least 10,000 years of deposition.
8. Even if you accept all the limitations, the record shows temperature changing before CO2 in absolute contradiction to the fundamental assumption of the AGW hypothesis.
9. Jaworowski gave testimony to the US Congress
http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Calen5/JawoCO2-Eng.html
and identified the basic problems with ice cores based on 40 years experience.
http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/zjmar07.pdf
It is why he was so viciously attacked. Today, that is a measure of how close to the truth and therefore how big a threat to the political agenda a scientists has become.
10. As Richard Benedick, a deputy assistant secretary of state for the U.S. State Department, said: “A global warming treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect.”
11. And former Senator Timothy Wirth, who orchestrated the appearance of James Hansen at the political charade
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/interviews/wirth.html
at which the entire issue went global said in 1993, two years after the ice core record appeared, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”
12. Of course, Hansen was subsequently replaced by Gavin Schmidt, who’s performance with the 2014 fiasco indicates it is business as usual.

Reply to  Tim Ball
January 25, 2015 11:30 am

There was also this.
And this:
Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair, IPCC WG-3:
“…one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore…”

Reply to  Tim Ball
January 25, 2015 3:59 pm

Tim,
Besides the fact that most in the climate community nowadays accept that temperature changes precede CO2 changes in the ice record (except Al Gore and a few alikes):
1. The “smoothing” of the CO2 record is between 10 and 600 years, depending of the accumulation rate.
2. The average CO2 age can be calculated via a firn densification model, depends of 1.
3. Not that I know. References?
4. Stomata data and most historic measurements were taken over land: high variability and too high levels. Interesting for resolution and probable causes of variability but unreliable for absolute levels.
4′. Not important, only shifts the ice age – gas age difference which is anyway unsure for low resolution ice cores.
5. Movements of water in ice at -40°C? Seems rather difficult to me. Ever tried to skate on ice of -20°C?
6. Bubbles squeezed out to where? To the atmosphere? The bubbles simply follow the ice stream.
7. Again not important except for determining the ice age – gas age difference.
7′. 10 m of ice for one sample? maybe 20 years ago, now they used for Dome C: “At the Bern laboratory, four to six samples of approximately 8 grams from each depth level (0.55m intervals)…”
8. Agreed.
9. As far as I know, Jaworowski wrote a letter, but never testified for congress. And as said elsewhere, his knowledge of ice cores was never updated after 1992 and certainly wrong on such elementary points that I personally can’t believe anything that he wrote after 1992.
10-12 That indeed is politics, not science…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 7:13 am

Ferdi, your point 6)…yes!! is the answer.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 27, 2015 5:54 am

Ron, what is the speed of the bubbles to reach the surface from below 3 km of ice and why are there not less bubbles in the ice at depth just above the clathrate zone as near the surface?

will gray
Reply to  Tim Ball
January 25, 2015 7:38 pm

Dr T.
You said “how big a threat to the political agenda a scientist has become.”
Well stated.

will gray
Reply to  Tim Ball
January 25, 2015 7:52 pm

Bulls eye. Dr t.
” how big a threat to the political agenda a scientists has become”. My childhood nickname was bull’. Lol.

Reply to  Tim Ball
January 26, 2015 1:32 am

Frit Koerner did his PhD on firn. He is one of the few glaciologists who has spent years in the polar regions both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Reply to  Tim Ball
January 26, 2015 7:09 am

Thanx Tim. These comments are exactly what I was soliciting.

rgbatduke
January 25, 2015 9:48 am

Your point is well taken, BUT, note well that the absence of peaks today does not imply the presence of peaks in the past. It simply establishes that we could not tell if there were.
The real point is that one cannot rely on the ice core record to give anything more than what it gives — a very coarse grained average picture of past CO_2, subject to distortion by various local processes that we can no longer detect or correct for.
I disagree, BTW, about the impossibility of creating at least mild positive anomalies relative to the average and indeed suspect that some of the Laws data illustrates exactly that. Remember, the modulation of CO_2 across layers is dependent on local conditions, which may not be homogeneous. Some years the CO_2 record may be more pristine than others because e.g. it was unusually warm, or cold, or snowy in just the right pattern.
rgb

Reply to  rgbatduke
January 25, 2015 10:05 am

There are several pCO2 paleoproxies including stomata amd alkenones. None have high resolution as this post is discussing. But rough past delta CO2 levels from whatever method (ice cores, paleoproxies) lag delta T on the order of at least 400 and probably about 800 years. Simply a comsequence of Earth’s surface being mostly ocean, Henry’s Law, and Le Chatellier’s Principle. Essay Cause and Effect in ebook Blowing Smoke covers this. It debunks several recent warmunist efforts to show the opposite. Embarassing attempts to overturn established physical chemistry.

tty
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 25, 2015 12:34 pm

Stomata have very high resolution (one year). The difficulty is to date the leaves and find homogenous series of fossil leaves. However there are a number of Late Glacial and Holocene series, and one from the last interglacial (MIS 5e), and they all indicate considerably more short-term variation i pCO2 than ice-core data.
Also the fact that ice-core data from high accumulation sites, such as WAIS divide show more variability than low-accumulation cores is certainly suggestive.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 25, 2015 12:56 pm

tty, the main problem with stomata data is that they are influenced by local CO2 levels, not only “background”. One of the main places for stomata history is in the SE Netherlands, where considerable changes in land uses occurred in the past 1000 years: from sea to land, from marshes to agriculture and forests (for mining) and not at least industrialization in the past 150 years, all in the main wind direction. Even the current main wind direction (mainly SW, second NW) may have changed during the Little Ice Age, where at least winters were severe with blocking highs and wind from mainland Eastern Europe…

MCourtney
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 25, 2015 3:09 pm

tty, the main problem with stomata data is that they are influenced by local CO2 levels, not only “background”

Isn’t every proxy related to local inputs? Professor Xavier may be able to know at a distance but I can’t see how he does it. \so how would ice cores.
If the argument is that stomata pick up local inputs because they aren’t smoothed by averaging over time like the ice cores then are… isn’t that arguing for poor resolution/less meaning of the ice cores?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 25, 2015 4:18 pm

MCourtney,
The main difference is that in the bulk of the atmosphere, that is everywhere from the North Pole to the South Pole over the oceans and (ice) deserts or above a few hundred meters over land, one can find the same CO2 levels within +/- 2% of full scale. Even including the seasonal changes and the human contribution.
In the first few hundred meters over land, one can find 550 ppmv at night under inversion and 280 ppmv during a sunny day. The historical measurements at Giessen (SW Germany), the longest historical series, show a variability of +/- 68 ppmv (1 sigma), those at Mauna Loa +/- 4 ppmv and the South Pole +/- 2 ppmv…
That wouldn’t be a problem if the local bias was constant and the local variability was related to a global variability, but for both, there is little/no historical information and the information from modern stations at the same places as the historical one’s is not very hopeful…

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 26, 2015 3:36 am

MCourtney January 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm

If the argument is that stomata pick up local inputs because they aren’t smoothed by averaging over time like the ice cores then are

They will claim most anything to discredit the stomata proxies.
All plant growth for a particular locale is determined by “average rainfall”, …. not a once-in-a-while thunderstorm or dry spell.
And likewise, the size and/or number of stomata is in fact the result of a per se “CO2 ppm averaging”. A leaf producing plant is smart enough not to over-produce or under-produce the stomata required for optimum plant growth. And “Yes”, …. “smart” like an Acacia tree is smart. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12717361.200-antelope-activate-the-acacias-alarm-system.html

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 26, 2015 3:51 am

Ferdinand Engelbeen January 25, 2015 at 4:18 pm

In the first few hundred meters over land, one can find 550 ppmv at night under inversion and 280 ppmv during a sunny day.

YUP, but all leaf producing plants are paid-up members of the United Nature Growers Union #169, …… they don’t work at nighttime.

ckb
Editor
Reply to  rgbatduke
January 25, 2015 2:20 pm

Exactly, Dr.! The data is pre-smoothed and smoothed in ways we cannot predict. It is useful on large time scales only, and we cannot really compare measurements we get today with it. It’s very plain to me, the first time I devoted some thinking to this subject I came to this conclusion. Thank you.

Reply to  ckb
January 25, 2015 4:04 pm

Depends of the resolution: there is an overlap of ~20 years (1960-1980) between the high resolution Law Dome ice cores and the direct measurements at the South Pole:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_sp_co2.jpg

richardscourtney
Reply to  ckb
January 26, 2015 1:35 am

Ferdinand
You know the ice core data have been displaced to create the agreement you assert between ice core and Mauna Loa data.
For those who don’t know about the displacement, I commend a view of Figures 1A and 1B and their explanation in this submission to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation by the late Zbigniew Jaworowski.
Richard

Reply to  ckb
January 27, 2015 6:15 am

Richard,
The “displacement” as said by the late Jaworowski is a real mistake of him, which is based on the assumption that there is no difference between ice age and gas age in ice cores.
Everybody with the slightest knowledge of ice cores will know that the average gas age in the enclosed bubbles is (much) younger than the surrounding ice, for the simple reason that the pores in the firn remain open for many years until a depth of ~72 m and more. For Law Dome that means 40 yearly ice layers. The average gas age in the transition zone then is ~10 years older than in the atmosphere, that is 30 years younger than the surrounding ice. That difference remains there for as long as the ice exists.
The Law Dome results were published in 1996 by Etheridge e.a., together with a lot of answers to other objections of Jaworowski. He didn’t change his mind and still accused other scientists of “cheating”, while it was he who was wrong. Not only on that point, but on a lot of other points too.
Thus sorry, he might have been a specialist in radiation dangers and metal (ion) migration in ice cores, but his knowledge of CO2 in ice cores was completely outdated and completely wrong.

Gentle Tramp
January 25, 2015 9:50 am

Quote: “Rather than climatic poison, elevated atmospheric CO2 is the elixir of all life on Earth.”
No matter if the ice core record of CO2 is reliable or not, the suppression of the actually obvious fact above by climate alarmism is maybe the greatest travesty of the current propaganda battle. The vilification of “The Gas of Life” has gone so far that many people don’t even know the vital role of CO2 for the biosphere on Earth. And schools do brainwash our kids so absurdly biased against “evil” CO2 that many pupils think CO2 is the most abundant gas in the atmosphere and has no positive effect at all…
What a sad and insane state of minds after 250 years of enlightenment !

Reply to  Gentle Tramp
January 25, 2015 4:40 pm

Here’s some ammo for you, Gentle Tramp:
http://www.co2science.org/education/reports/co2benefits/co2benefits.php
I downloaded the full pdf and am quoting from it in this week’s papers.
I live in farming country and the farmers understand (especially the commercial greenhouses), but the schools are tainted by the bad guys.

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  Bubba Cow
January 26, 2015 5:06 am

Thank you for the link (good material) and your valuable journalistic work! Best regards!

assman
January 25, 2015 10:00 am

I have never understood why anyone places any faith whatsoever in proxy measurements. You have no way of knowing how to correlate to past temperatures. And correlation between proxies is to be expected…after all how do you think the proxy methodologies are developed in the first place. You keep tweaking your methodology until you get a good correlation to accepted proxies.

January 25, 2015 10:08 am

Probably worth reading if you haven’t seen it already. Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2, March 19, 2004, Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski:
http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

January 25, 2015 10:27 am

And another interesting read regarding ice cores, though perhaps not germane to the central thesis here. It does however illustrate that cross-correlation between ice cores is rather difficult to say the least:
http://climateaudit.org/2012/07/01/lonnie-and-ellen-serial-non-archivers/

Reply to  The Pompous Git
January 25, 2015 12:46 pm

I am not sure how that relates to CO2 in this case: the ClimateAudit article is about the 18O/16O changes in the water molecules of the ice. That ratio is a proxy for the ocean temperature at the place of origin of the water vapor that is deposited as snow. CO2 on the other hand is evenly distributed over whole Antarctica and shows very little difference between ice cores for the same average gas age.
The main problem is calculating the average gas age, as that depends of the snow accumulation rate and temperature, which of course is different during glacial periods than during interglacials…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 3:38 pm

Ferdinand, neither Ellen’s, nor Lonnie’s data are available for scrutiny, so I don’t know what they contain. Do you? I was called a liar some years ago by an Antarctic researcher for making this claim. If you do have access, where is it archived? A rather obvious assumption to make is that there’s something worth hiding.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 4:23 pm

I was reacting to the fact that the Thompsons only show the ocean temperature proxy record, which differs from core to core, depending of the catch area of the water vapor. Not about CO2 levels.
But I agree with Steve McIntyre that they should have put all their data into a public file…

rgbatduke
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 8:39 am

It may be too late to get your attention, Ferdinand, but I’ve been looking at the ice core data pretty carefully to see how it might affect the simplest possible log model between CO_2 and temperature, unlagged, unsmoothed. The problem is this — there isn’t particularly good agreement between Laws, Siple, and Mauna Loa over the last 165 years. See this plot (directly from data from the relevant sites):
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/cCO2oft.jpg
Here are the problems I see in this:
a) Laws goes up, Siple goes down, and vice versa. Several times.
b) Laws goes down (or remains nearly flat) for order of decades. Say what? 1850 to 1870, 1895-1905, 1940-1950. 1940-1950? Again, say what? This was probably the fastest expansion in industrial capacity the world had ever seen. It was also the end of the very rapid rise in global temperature through the 30’s and early 40’s. Siple goes up, sharply across exactly this same period.
c) The blue line is a reasonable smooth fit to the post 1958 ML data that intersects the nearly common Laws/Siple numbers in 1950. It is “reasonable” because the ML data is, in fact, remarkably smooth with only tiny deviations from this curve, and indeed it appears to regress to this curve when it deviates a tiny bit from it in e.g. the 1980-1990 time frame. Laws is even smoother. The three (ML, Siple, Laws) all appear to nearly perfectly merge in maybe 1955 to turn into this nice, smooth, rapidly rising curve.
But before 1955 the Laws/Siple data is anything but smooth. It isn’t even monotonic. In Laws, CO_2 appears to (if anything) be rising linearly from 1870 to 1940, punctuated on either end by drops that as far as I can think of have no rational explanation within the confines of the current beliefs about climate and CO_2 and atmospheric chemistry. Siple, OTOH, has (obviously) different resolution but still manages a sudden, sharp drop just after the turn of the 20th century and has a trend indistinguishable from linear with this number of data points over the interval.
I freely confess, I can make absolutely nothing out of this. It makes no sense. It is rather difficult to believe that in 1955 the entire character of atmospheric chemistry changed after 100 years of change according to an entirely different rule. It is also difficult to believe that either Laws or Siple is recording a well-mixed atmosphere that can fairly be compared to Mauna Loa. Finally, because of the profound change in character of Mauna Loa direct measurement and Laws inferred CO_2 at almost precisely the beginning of Mauna Loa’s existence, we have two serious problems to contend with. One is that we absolutely cannot extrapolate backwards and assume that Laws is an accurate proxy of what Mauna Loa would have read. Something changed and we do not know what it was, but it completely suppressed the noise and variability clearly visible in the pre-Mauna Loa Laws data, meaning that the proxy itself is enormously suspect, doubly so given the systematic and serious disagreementts with Siple. The variances make almost a discontinuous change at precisely the point where the series all come together at ML.
That makes one wonder about the second possibility — that there are thumbs on the scales, somewhere, somehow. Did the people analyzing Laws “know” the Mauna Loa result? Almost certainly. Did they have to accept or reject samples as “good” or “bad” for inclusion in their analysis? Almost certainly. Would it have been possible for them to use their knowledge of “the right answer” — consciously or unconsciously — to select the samples for inclusion so that they were in good agreement (since the virtue of their entire body of research depends on this agreement — if it is poor what is the point)? Well, yeah, it could have happened.
One hopes that the researchers were rigorous and pristine in their approach and used precisely the same procedures for acceptance and rejection of samples (or just used random numbers, always a good idea in statistical analysis) to obtain the Laws/Siple series. Unfortunately, the sharp change in the variance in the data at precisely the junction between the three series strongly suggests otherwise. Either that or else there is some sort of natural process that from time to time scours 5 to 10 ppm of CO_2 out of the atmosphere over a single decade in the teeth of what surely was a steadily increasing anthropogenic contribution, or there is an occult natural process with substantial decadal variability that is responsible for decadal swings in the rate of CO_2 accumulation either way, that by pure chance became a consistent producer of CO_2 at an entirely new rate in 1955 or thereabouts after varying substantially for the 100 years before around a substantially lower rate.
Or, we could conclude that the ice core data are simply not very reliable after around 40 years. That is actually one of the best explanations. Laws might well be accurate for around 30-40 years before the present (the present of the collection of the cores). Beyond that, the data might simply be showing that there is some sort of process — quite possibly associated with a pressure driven phase transition of sorts, as that would explain the change in both variance and slope — that completely alters the ice and renders the same “fit” that correctly gives Mauna Loa post 1955 useless for interpreting samples 50 or more years old.
rgb

rgbatduke
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 8:41 am

I meant “intercepts the Laws/Siple data in 1850. Sorry about that.
rgb

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 1:47 pm

Robert (rgbatduke), always great to hear from you. You ask why the ice core data doesn’t fit your smooth curve. First, let’s look at all of the ice core data that covers the period you discuss, 1850-present. There are five analyses covering four ice cores during that period, viz:comment image
Your graph is:
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/cCO2oft.jpg
and you ask why the ice cores don’t correspond to the blue line, which is your hypothetical CO2 curve.
The reason is simple—the CO2 emissions don’t follow the blue curve, so there is no reason to think that the atmospheric CO2 would follow it either. Here is the actual curve of the CO2 emissions over the period:comment image
As you can see, far from following your smooth curve, the emissions actually agree with the ice core data quite well, including a relatively flat spot from about 1935-1950. Presumably this reflects the effect of the Great Depression on global industry. You report being surprised that the ice core CO2 data goes up fairly linearly from 1850 to about 1950 … but in fact, that’s exactly what the CO2 emissions did. Not only that, but the fit is even better once you include the exponential decay of the emissions.
Finally, I don’t find the small differences between the ice core results to be particularly surprising. They all seem to fall well within what I would expect from observational data.
Best regards,
w.

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 28, 2015 10:54 am

“As you can see, far from following your smooth curve, the emissions actually agree with the ice core data quite well, including a relatively flat spot from about 1935-1950. “
Apples and oranges. One is a total accumulation of changes, and the other is changes. Accumulate the latter, and the “flat spot” disappears.

January 25, 2015 10:35 am

Rapid atmospheric CO2 changes associated with the 8,200-years-B.P. cooling event
http://www.pnas.org/content/99/19/12011.full.pdf
Interesting to see the differences between ice cores and leaf stomata reconstructions.

January 25, 2015 11:14 am

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

As an engineer with a thorough education and understanding of the physics of matter, especially in the solid state, I take it as certain that all variation and every gradient has forces acting to reduce and eventually eliminate the variation and gradient. There are mechanisms active and available to facilitate in all circumstances. The question boils down to time. The rate of the action is not always clear or quantifiable.
It seems to me the actual rates involved in ice cores are slow enough to give us a reasonable picture of the past, but it is most certainly attenuated. Keep in mind that the averaging is not “average” but forcing toward zero. The farther from zero at any given point, the greater the tendency toward zero at that point. Peaks spread and dissipate. They don’t just average. The physical actions working in the ice, on the bubbles, et al., are not a smoothing so much as a squashing toward the lowest possible uniform value. Not that the natural amount of CO2 in ice is zero. That is, ice is made of H2O. CO2 will eventually diffuse out of the ice where there is no boundary condition imposing an external limit or partial pressure

Reply to  Lonnie E. Schubert
January 26, 2015 7:23 am

Great commentary…thanx

Reply to  Lonnie E. Schubert
January 27, 2015 6:27 am

Lonnie, there is attenuation in the firn zone, as there is a lot of mixing time and migration in still open pores, be it that the migration speed reduces with depth as the pores get smaller under pressure.
There is no measurable migration in the extreme cold central highland cores and certainly not toward zero, as the minimum levels found still are 180 ppmv. Thus if there was migration, that will level of the (~300 ppmv) peaks and distribute that over the 180 ppmv, not zero.
Thus peaks may spread (but there is no sign of that), but CO2 doesn’t disappear in the ice, the ice matrix is too small for CO2 (we are not talking about metal -ions- in the ice matrix). Put a Coke bottle in a freezer: all CO2 comes out of the ice and the bottle may explode if not strong enough.

January 25, 2015 11:29 am

@ Ronald D Voisin

In this 200 yearlong 100% perturbation example I estimate that no more that 10% of the original signal can survive the initial attenuation of the recordation process, let alone the subsequent and substantial further attenuating distortions.

I’se just luv “original thinkers” who employ their nurtured “common sense, logical reasoning and/or intelligent deduction” personality traits …. for resolving questions and/or questionable claims about the natural world around us.
The “gist” of the above quoted comment pretty much exactly agrees with my “thoughts” on the subject in question. Thoughts that I have been touting for the past several years in opposition to the claimed “accuracy” of atmospheric CO2 ppm being determined via Ice Core proxy data.
Especially the Greenland Ice Core proxy data because I do not understand how it is possible to assign a “date” to the yearly accumulation of glacial ice ….. given the fact of extreme melting at the onset of the current Interglacial (21,000 BP) and/or during the Holocene Optimum (8,000 – 4,300 BP), … Minoan WP (3,500 – 3,200 BP), … Roman WP (2,300 – 2,000 BP), … and/or Medieval WP (1,200 – 900 BP).
Fifty (50) years of rapid melting could easily “wipe-out” 500 to 1,000 years of glacial ice accumulations.

joelobryan
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 25, 2015 12:06 pm

In geological rock records, this is called an unconformity. Specifically, what would be analogous to a disconformity.
More here:
http://www.indiana.edu/~geol105b/images/gaia_chapter_6/unconformities.htm

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 25, 2015 12:34 pm

Samuel, the Greenland ice core record was from the summit, where besides a few re-melt layers there was little melting over the past 110,000 years. The relative high accumulation rate was sufficient to count the full 110,000 yearly layers until near the bottom where the ice was mixed/melted.
There are differences in density between summer and winter snow, which can literally be seen by eye even in de ice and can be measured by light diffraction, conductivity, radar, echo,… when the layers are compressed with depth.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 4:59 am

the Greenland ice core record was from the summit,

Ferdinand, a couple quick facts for you.
1) Greenland’s highest mountain – Gunnbjørn Fjeld, Island of Greenland, 12,119 ft (above sea level)
2) The (glacial ice) thickness is generally more than 2 km (1.2 mi) and over 3 km (1.9 mi) at its thickest point
So Ferdinand, are you telling me that the 10,032 feet of glacial ice sits on top of that 12,119 feet mountain summit ……. for a total height of 22,151 feet in elevation?
And Ferdinand, just what kept the winds from blowing most of the snow off the summit?

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 26, 2015 5:23 am

Samuel C Cogar, challenging Ferdinand’s geography

So Ferdinand, are you telling me that the 10,032 feet of glacial ice sits on top of that 12,119 feet mountain summit ……. for a total height of 22,151 feet in elevation?

Absolutely not. Your impression is backwards.
If all of the ice were removed, Greenland would be a very wide basin. Almost like the North American continent, but shorter across from the east coast to west coast. The mountains begin right at the coastline, they rise very sharply to a peak about 50-75 km inland. This is the location of the mountain peak you mention – right next to the coast! The row of mountain peaks loops completely around the central basin – think of the Appalachian mountains dropping down to the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri River basin in the center, then rising back towards the Rocky Mountains in the west. But there is then a very sharp drop right back to the west coast. No Great Basin, no second or thrid set of mountains like the Sierra Nevada and coast CA-OR-WA mountains and volcanoes.
That central basin in Greenland has been pressed down so low by the weight of glacier ice above it that the “rock” is below sea level. If the oceans could reach it when the ice were removed, the middle of Greenland – where you seem to think there are mountains by the tone of your question – is underwater.
So: East coast, rocky and glacier-covered mountains for 75 km, a north-south bare rocky peaks with little or now snow cover of 2-4,000 meter tops with thousands of passes and low spots between with some ice cover, rocky slopes sloping down to the center basin of Greenland that trap the 100,000 years of ice in the middle, a rising center mass of ice that is 3200+ meters thick at the middle over a rock bottom that is a few hundred meters under sea level, then a rising slope of mountains and glaciers trying to flow to the middle (but can’t!), then a second rocky series of bare mountain peaks and high passes, then a sharp, short decline of rocky slopes and glaciers facing west down to the coast.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 8:58 am

Samuel, RAC has answered your main question, only one addition:
Most of the winds at the Greenland (and some parts of Antarctica) ice sheet are katabatic: they blow from the summit to the outer regions. At the center there may be hardly any wind (not always, but most of the time).
Some people here did transverse the Greenland ice sheet East to West and used the katabatic winds to sail down once they passed the highest point…

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 26, 2015 7:24 am

You’re welcome and good points.

joelobryan
January 25, 2015 11:50 am

The big problem I see with the presentation of the “recordation” is the shape of the CO2 pulse.
Modeled as symmetrical. It seems arguable that any fast CO2 release rate (50-100 years) (anthropogenic, vulcanism, marine clathrate release, bio-methane sourced) would then have a much slower, (order of magnitude) removal rate by the CO2 sinks (ocean solution, biological &, geochemical sequestration). Thus, the recorded signal shape would not be symmetrical, and the high values would have a much longer imprint time on the accumulated ice layer than as shown.

joelobryan
Reply to  joelobryan
January 25, 2015 11:53 am

Further, the shape of the decay could arguably be modeled as a logarithmic half-life decay, i.e. not a linear removal.

Barry
January 25, 2015 11:50 am

One problem with this article is that the atmospheric lifetime of CO2 is centuries. Individual molecules have a short lifetime (~ years), but once they leave the atmosphere they continue exchanging with CO2 in the oceans, for centuries.

Reply to  Barry
January 26, 2015 7:29 am

Instantaneous CO2 level is created by natural delta sources-sinks. Atmospheric CO2 comes down just as fast as it goes up.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 9:13 am

That is not always the case: a lot of CO2 sources are rapid one-way: volcanoes, burning vegetation,… The reverse time needed to remove the extra CO2 may be much longer: regrowth of vegetation is quite rapid, but uptake of CO2 by the oceans is slow (fast for the surface, but that has a limited capacity). An extra CO2 uptake by vegetation once the forests are mature also is very slow. Other sinks like rock weathering even much slower…
The current human emissions are ~10 GtC as CO2. With the 110 ppmv extra in the atmosphere, the increased pressure puts ~1 GtC extra in vegetation, ~0.5 GtC in the ocean surface and ~3 GtC in the deep oceans. That makes that the e-fold decay rate for the extra CO2 above equilibrium is ~50 years.

Barry
January 25, 2015 11:52 am

joelobryan – thanks, you beat me to it!

January 25, 2015 11:55 am

@Ronald Voisin,
Got to simmer on this first, but offhand the firn layer is some 80-100 meters thick and it’s the accumulation rate which determines the ice age at which the firn gets solid at those depths. On Greenland that may be around 50-100 years, on the highest domes of Antarctica, where the long CO2 records come from (Vostok, Dome C / EPICA), you think more in several thousands of years. This difference is reflected in the gas age / ice age chronology’s. See http://www.clim-past.net/3/485/2007/cp-3-485-2007.pdf and
ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/epica_domec/edc3-timescale.txt

Editor
January 25, 2015 11:56 am

First, Ronald, thank you for your interesting article and graphics. And in general, the point you make is correct—the ice cannot increase the amplitude of up-down swings, it can only reduce them.
With that said, however, the real issue is “how much”. Here, for example, is some real-world data:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/mauna_loa_ice_core_co2_1000_2010.jpg
Note that the ice cores have captured the recent increase in CO2 with good fidelity.
So while your point is correct, in general that it is a difference that makes little difference. In part this is because some ice cores have quite short firn-closure times. Greenland ice cores are an example of this.
The second reason that it makes little difference is that you show a very slow slope down through the firn, with the firn essentially capturing the instantaneous CO2 concentration and holding it until it is frozen into the ice.
But this is NOT at all what happens. Instead, the firn constantly equilibrates with the current CO2 levels through diffusion. The difference between the firn and the ice is that the firn is NOT closed off from the upper atmosphere. The firn doesn’t have sealed bubbles as the ice does. It has open cells that connect to the surface. As a result, the line you have drawn representing CO2 concentrations in the firn is incorrect. It should be nearly vertical. It is only when the bubbles finally close at the bottom of the firn where it turns into ice that the CO2 stops equilibrating with the surface.
The main effect of this is to make the age of the ice different from the age of the air enclosed in the bubbles in the ice. When the bubbles close on e.g thirty-year-old snow at the bottom of the firn, because of the constant diffusion they capture air that is little different from that of today. Yes, if the up-and-down of CO2 were rapid it would not be captured accurately … but even in modern times we’re only talking about a change of a percent or so per year, and that’s only in one direction. For that kind of slow change, the ice seems to capture the variation with good fidelity.
Best regards,
w.

mpainter
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 25, 2015 12:19 pm

As I understand the problem Willis, ice core data of the last 60 years are so will not be reliable regards to CO2 because of the diffusion problem, hence your Mona chart is suspect.

mpainter
Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 12:24 pm

Hah! Mauna Loa, i think.

Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 12:25 pm

mpainter, the diffusion in firn has plenty of time: 40 years to equilibrate with the atmosphere, less when the pores are more and more closing near the bottom.
Migration in the ice itself when the bubbles are fully closed is very small in “warm” coastal ice cores and only broadens the resolution, in much colder inland ice cores not measurable at all.

mpainter
Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 12:30 pm

What is your point Ferdinand?
Are you trying to say that the referred data (Mauna Loa chart) is reliable?
That the firn closed very quickly?

Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 1:10 pm

mpainter, see my more complete response below: the difference in air composition at the bottom of the firn is only 7 years with the atmosphere. Thus the ice core follows the atmosphere very closely, because of the diffusion in the firn. The largest difference is caused by the different depths where the first and last bubbles are closed…

mpainter
Reply to  mpainter
January 26, 2015 2:50 am

It can be longer than 40 years. A lot depends on local conditions, Ferdinand.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 25, 2015 2:02 pm

Willis, the good fidelity you speak of can only exist while the atmospheric CO2 is higher than what has been previously recorded. As soon as it reverses, fidelity will be hugely compromised.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 25, 2015 7:36 pm

Thanks, Ron, but your attempt at science by assertion doesn’t go far enough. When the cycle reverses, as you point out, the ice core records will reduce any peak … but by how much?
As Ferdinand points out, the averaging of the CO2 values that goes on in the Siple cores ranges from perhaps twenty to forty years … so as long as the reversal takes significantly longer than that, fidelity will only be very marginally compromised, not hugely.
w.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 5:42 am

Now don’t you all be forgetting that both Sunshine and/or the force of the wind will often cause a thin layer of ice to form on top of the snowpack, …. which will obviously restrict or retard the diffusion of CO2. See: http://ankn.uaf.edu/Curriculum/Athabascan/ObservingSnow/Snow.html

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 9:27 am

Samuel, that depends of the average temperature, thus most will be seen in coastal ice core at lower elevations. Melt layers are easily detected in an ice core and do influence the ice age – gas age difference and the smoothing of that part of the ice. That can be calculated.
In the Siple Dome ice core they had one melt layer over a period of 90 years. At the inland Vostok and Dome C ice cores I haven’t heard of any melt layers.
Snow blowing away is not a real problem: it influences the dating with missing years or even decades, but that is already coarse even without such events. Some cross dating is done if dust is disposed from huge historical volcanic explosions, but still problematic.

Tony
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 25, 2015 2:47 pm

Willis, I’d be interested in your comments on the 80 year correction in Fig 6 here http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/2006_articles/IceCoreSprg97.pdf
Are there other instances of such corrections?

Reply to  Tony
January 25, 2015 4:32 pm

Stupid mistake from the late Prof. Jaworowski: he looked at the column of the ice age in the table of Neftel for the Siple ice core. But CO2 is not in the ice, it is in the gas bubbles, which are by definition younger than the surrounding ice, as CO2 can freely migrate in and out over the 40 and more years that the ice layers are stapling. Thus the average gas age is much younger than the ice age. If you take the right column in Neftel’s table, there is no “arbitrary correction” at all.
See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

Reply to  Tony
January 28, 2015 5:17 am

@Ferdinand Engelbeen: January 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

If you don’t (want to) understand that adding 4 ppmv extra CO2 per year to a system which is more or less in equilibrium (with a small variability of not more than +/- 1 ppmv/year)

Shur nuff, Ferdinand, and the air pressure where you reside is more or less in equilibrium (with a small variability of not more than +/- 243 mmHg/year)
Ferdi, is a “seesaw” on a playground also more or less in equilibrium (with a small variability of not more than +/- 3 feet/day)
Your silliness is irritating, Ferdinand.

…… adding 4 ppmv extra CO2 per year to a system ………..does increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere with 2 ppmv/year,

Ferdinand, you are again trying to bedazzle my mind with your mimicry of the results of “reverse” mathematical calculations ….. that probably originated with James Hansen et el. Taking the average 2 ppm yearly increase from the Mauna Loa record and back calculating it to get an average 20 billion tons of CO2 emissions by humans just to blame them for CAGW by fictitiously associating it with the “fuzzy” math calculated average global temperature increases is “junk science” and all part of the Great Global Warming Scam..

No matter if that total natural part is 100 ppmv in and 102 ppmv out ….. or 1000 ppmv in and 1002 ppmv out over a year: the net contribution of nature to the increase is null, zero, nada…

Ferdinand, framing your argument with selected values does nothing to DISPROVE the fact that the context of your commentary is little more than concocted tripe n’ piffle which has no basis in factual science.

Reply to  Tony
February 2, 2015 5:12 am

Samuel,
Missed this one…
That humans are the cause of the increase in the atmosphere, despite the natural variability is as clear as that there is a sea level increase, despite the huge variability caused by waves, tides and storms. The difference is that one only needs 3 years to see that the CO2 increase is larger than the natural noise and that you need over 25 years to separate the small increase in sea level from the huge natural noise.
Human emissions are not based on Mauna Loa data, they are based on fossil fuel sales (taxes!), with a higher probability of underestimates than overestimates, due to under the counter sales… Increase in the atmosphere is based on ice cores before 1959, Mauna Loa and other stations thereafter. Over the full period since at least 1900, the increase in the atmosphere is about halve the emissions.
The air pressure does pump air in and out the upper snow/firn layer, but as far as I know, that doesn’t change the CO2 levels in the snow/firn. Measurements at several places show practically the same CO2 level in firn below the surface: 2 ppmv less at 5 m depth for Law Dome.

Reply to  policycritic
January 25, 2015 3:17 pm

Ah, I see Tony beat me to it. 😉

Reply to  policycritic
January 25, 2015 6:35 pm

Thanks, Polycritic. First, Dr. Jaworowski seems totally unaware that there is a difference between air age and ice age.
Next, Dr. J says that this the following is a “lie” …

1. Carbon dioxide, the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas, increased markedly as a result of human activities, and its atmospheric concentration of 379 ppmv (parts per million, by volume) in 2005 by far exceeded the natural range of 180 to 300 ppmv over the last 650,000 years.

Next, Dr. J misrepresents the effect of additional inputs to a system at equilibrium, making the ludicrous argument that:

… 97% of the total annual emission of CO2 into the atmosphere comes from natural emissions of the land and sea; human beings add a mere 3%. This man-made 3% of CO2 emissions is responsible for a tiny fraction of the total greenhouse effect, probably close to 0.12%. Propositions of changing, or rather destroying, the global energy system because of this tiny human contribution, in face of the large short-term and long-term natural fluctuations of atmospheric CO2, are utterly irresponsible.

If you can’t see the huge fallacy in that argument, you need to contemplate the meaning of “equilibrium”. Here’s an example. If I make $100,000 per year and spend $100K per year, my net worth doesn’t change. My bank balance is at equilibrium.
But if my expenses stay the same and I add “a mere 3%” to my income, my net worth will be 150% of the equilibrium value within a mere 17 years … and since Dr. J doesn’t seem to understand this, I fear my respect for him couldn’t go much lower.
Finally, look again at my graph above. Consider the agreement between the different ice core records from different locations done at different times by different investigators. Then consider the changes in CO2 from earlier periods at the terminations of the ice ages, again from different locations done at different times by different investigators … if you believe Jaworowski, the only tenable conclusion is that these are all “lies” put together by some wide-spread collection of conspiratorial scientists.
You’re free to believe Dr. Jaworowski if you wish. To me, I fear that he’s a crackpot. There are a whole host of valid arguments against the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. Dr. J’s arguments are not among them.
w.

richardscourtney
Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 1:56 am

Willis
You say

You’re free to believe Dr. Jaworowski if you wish. To me, I fear that he’s a crackpot.

I take severe offence at that especially when it comes from a nonentity!
I consider it a great honour to have been associated with the late Zbigniew ‘Zeb’ Jaworowsk throughout the final decades of his life. He is the ‘father’ of ice core studies who conducted dozens of field trips to obtain ice cores, and he devised most of the methods now used to analyse ice cores. Hence, his anger when he learned of – what he considered to be – the abuse of the methods he devised for paleo-climate studies.
Zeb provides the best summary of problems with ice core data in his Statement written for the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It is titled “Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2” and is dated March 19, 2004. As several have already said, it can be read at
http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/
Zeb’s severely failing health meant he could only submit the statement in written form.
Similarly, his failing health prevented his attending the Heartland 1 Conference and he asked me to present his paper there so I did.
I first became associated with him when the UN appointed him to determine the world-wide dispersal of radionucleatides from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He was a professor from a communist country and the disaster was in a communist country at the height of the Cold War. But nobody questioned his appointment because he was unarguably the outstanding authority in his field. However, he feared that whatever he discovered could be portrayed as having partisan bias so he desired association for review of his work by someone in a coal industry (coal was a competitor to nuclear) from the Western side of the Iron Curtain. I was a material scientist at the UK’s Coal Research Establishment (but not then the Senior Material Scientist) and filled that role. He was a communist and atheist while I am a socialist and Accredited Methodist Preacher, so we could be thought to be natural ‘enemies’, but I consider it a great honour that we were friends.
And that friendship is why I add this background information in hope that I honour the name of the great Zbigniew Jaworowski. A great man, a true scientist and a sorely missed friend, who is much maligned by crackpots.
Richard

Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 2:57 am

Richard,
As far as I have read, the late Jaworowski was a specialist in metal ions (radioactive or not) in ice cores, which is important for following the migration of the fallout of Tsjernobyl.
I don’t know if he ever looked at CO2 in his own ice core measurements (if he did any), but it seems to me that many of his objections were written before 1992 with his knowledge of that time.
Where he goes completely wrong is that he repeats all his earlier objections in 2004, while a lot of work was done on ice cores, especially the work of Etheridge e.a. on three Law Dome ice cores, published in 1996.
Etheridge explicitly answered a lot of objections posed by Jaworowski in 1992 (without mentioning his name): he drilled three cores with three different methods (wet and dry) – no difference. He measured CO2 in firn top down until full ice and both firn and ice at the closing transect. He could calculate the theoretical migration in firn, the distribution of gas age in firn and ice and the gas age – ice age difference and he could compare that to what was really measured in the cores. That includes a direct overlap of ~20 years between CO2 levels in the ice and in the atmosphere.
Thus sorry, the late Jaworowski may have been an expert on ice cores up to 1992, but all what he wrote after that was completely outdated.
Some of what he wrote was already wrong at the moment that he wrote it, like the gas age – ice age difference which doesn’t exist according to him, or the migration of CO2 from low levels to high levels. Anyone with the slightest understanding of diffusion knows that this can’t be right.
These last items closed the door for me: his knowledge in the past might have been superb, but what he wrote after 1992 is garbage…

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 5:41 am

Thus sorry, the late Jaworowski may have been an expert on ice cores up to 1992, but all what he wrote after that was completely outdated.
Some of what he wrote was already wrong at the moment that he wrote it, like the gas age – ice age difference which doesn’t exist according to him, or the migration of CO2 from low levels to high levels. Anyone with the slightest understanding of diffusion knows that this can’t be right.
These last items closed the door for me: his knowledge in the past might have been superb, but what he wrote after 1992 is garbage…

Seems like he is the perfect and most excellent argument AGAINST the hollowed (er, hallowed) ideals of academic tenure and indentured (er, endowed) chairs of permanently enshrined professors at outhouses (er, our houses) of academic domains.

Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 6:53 am

There is no “human signature” that is visible or measurable in the official record (Mauna Loa) of increases and/or decreases in atmospheric CO2 ppm quantities. Assuming that there is such a “signature” is junk science. ….. (And “NO”, ??x??, …. there is no H-Pyron signature.)
And humanity being responsible for a mere 3% of the total yearly emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere ….. is akin to …. sibling family members being responsible for a mere 3% of the total yearly deposits of money into the parental “expense-paying” Checking Account at a Bank.
And neither of the aforesaid three (3) percent’ers (3% ) are cumulative from one year to the next in their respective depository. Mother Nature does not pay “interest” on deposits.

Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 7:38 am

I’m with San on this. Right-on!

Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 7:54 am

Samuel, it seems quite difficult to understand that a small disturbance of a few % of what is a natural cycle may give a large increase (or decrease) over time. Something many housewives have no problem with: if they slightly spend more money than their household budget allows, they know they are getting into trouble…
Have a look at:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html#Extra:_how_much_human_CO2_is_in_the_atmosphere

Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 11:24 am

richardscourtney January 26, 2015 at 1:56 am

Willis
You say

You’re free to believe Dr. Jaworowski if you wish. To me, I fear that he’s a crackpot.

I take severe offence at that especially when it comes from a nonentity!
I consider it a great honour to have been associated with the late Zbigniew ‘Zeb’ Jaworowsk throughout the final decades of his life. He is the ‘father’ of ice core studies who conducted dozens of field trips to obtain ice cores, and he devised most of the methods now used to analyse ice cores. Hence, his anger when he learned of – what he considered to be – the abuse of the methods he devised for paleo-climate studies.

Richard, when you get done with taking “severe offense”, perhaps you could point us to some of his papers outlining his devising of “most of the methods now used to analyze ice cores”. I looked hard, and I could find nothing of note. I did find a couple of papers about heavy metals or radioactivity in ice cores, but nothing about how he devised the methods in use.
Next, both Ferdinand and I have pointed out specific problems with his claims. Rather than refute a single one of them, you go on and on about your friendship with him, and how you presented his paper, and how he was an atheist and you weren’t, and how “the UN appointed him to determine the world-wide dispersal of radionucleatides from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster” … so freakin’ what? How about you talk about the science and not the man?
Here’s an example. He says that the following statement is totally erroneous:

The age of gases in the air bubbles is much younger than the age of the ice in which they are entrapped (Oeschger et al. 1985), the age difference ranging from several tens to several ten-thousands of years.

But our guest author has just explained in great detail that not only is that statement true, he’s laid out the physical reasons why it is true. So perhaps you can explain how Zeb is correct and the rest of the scientific world, including our guest author and most of the commenters, is wrong about their being a difference between ice age and air age.
If you want to get some traction, deal with the issues that Ferdinand and I identified. I don’t care if Jaworowski studied radiation or whether he provided blankets and dinner for the homeless or whether he is an atheist or a Buddhist monk, that has nothing to do with the errors in his claims.
Look, richard, I’m sorry I called him a crackpot, that was a bit over the top. Let me adopt the lovely Nixonian language and say that that statement is “no longer operative”.
But as Ferdinand has pointed out, even when presented with evidence late in his life that some of his views were wrong, he refused to face the facts … I’ll leave you to decide whether that is science or not.
w.

Reply to  policycritic
January 27, 2015 9:38 am

@ Ferdinand Engelbeen:January 26, 2015 at 7:54 am

Samuel, it seems quite difficult to understand that a small disturbance of a few % of what is a natural cycle may give a large increase (or decrease) over time

Ferdinand, you are “talking trash” …. and you know it. Or are you really that miseducated?
The emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere, …. from all sources, ….. has nothing whatsoever to do with “natural cycles” … EXCEPT FOR the “ natural seasonal cycles” associated with the earth’s axial rotation and orbital revolution. There are no other “natural cycles” involved, … NONE, NADA, ZERO, ZILCH.

Something many housewives have no problem with: if they slightly spend more money than their household budget allows, they know they are getting into trouble…

Ferdinand, your childish analogy is an insult to even the Learning Disabled.
“DUH”, you have never been married, have you? Or at least, never been “head-of-household” revenues and expenses.
And ps, housewives never get into trouble as long as they are still capable and/or willing to exhale copious amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere whenever sexually excited.

Reply to  policycritic
January 27, 2015 4:42 pm

Samuel,
Everybody on this blog knows that I have lot of patience and that I try in many ways to show people what is true and what is false in someone’s reasoning. But even my patience has its limits. If we are discussing CO2 levels in the atmosphere the 3% rule is popping up again and again. That is NOT an argument at all, it is as stupid as my example (and yes I am over 40 years married and still happy, as we both like to spend as much as we earn).
If you don’t (want to) understand that adding 4 ppmv extra CO2 per year to a system which is more or less in equilibrium (with a small variability of not more than +/- 1 ppmv/year) does increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere with 2 ppmv/year, then no argument of mine can convince you that the increase can’t be natural, whatever the individual sources (volcanoes, burning forests, heating oceans) or sinks (polar oceans, greening of the planet) do over a year. No matter if that total natural part is 100 ppmv in and 102 ppmv out or 1000 ppmv in and 1002 ppmv out over a year: the net contribution of nature to the increase is null, zero, nada…

Don Perry
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 25, 2015 6:05 pm

If this graph is accurate, where are the variations of CO2 levels for the medieval warm period and the little ice age? No variation of CO2 with wide variation of climate???

Reply to  Don Perry
January 26, 2015 2:30 am

One need high resolution ice cores to see the change, which is visible in de Law Dome DSS core (~20 year resolution over the past 1,000 years):
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_1000yr.jpg
The drop of ~6 ppmv lags the drop in temperature (based on the Moberg reconstruction) of ~0.8°C with about 50 years. The ratio again is the same as for the glacial – interglacial changes: about 8 ppmv/°C.
That also means that the warming after the LIA is only good for maximum 8 ppmv CO2 increase, the rest of the 110 ppmv is from human emissions…

Reply to  Don Perry
January 26, 2015 7:21 am

Was the aforesaid ….“maximum 8 ppmv CO2 increase,” … confirmed and attested to by the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Reply to  Don Perry
January 26, 2015 7:42 am

Ferdi, quit the linearizations will you? A greater peak than today attended these larger thermal transitions of the past.

Reply to  Don Perry
January 26, 2015 8:08 am

Engineer Ron: the Vostok and Dome C ice cores show a surprising linear relationship between temperature and CO2 of 8 ppm/K. The transient responses over the seasons is globally ~5 ppmv/K and the 2-3 year fluctuations (Pinatubo, El Niño) also are 4-5 ppmv/K.
Thus while many underlying reactions may be far from linear, the overall T-CO2 relationship is quite linear in periods of a few decades to many thousands of years, be it with variable lag times for CO2 after T over spans of 12 K and changes of 100 ppmv in the past.
All ice core resolutions are more than sufficient to detect a peak of 110 ppmv like the current one if that occurred anywhere in the past 800 kyears. There was no such peak and the current increase is far beyond the equilibrium between oceans and atmosphere (by Henry’s law) for the current temperature.

Reply to  Don Perry
January 26, 2015 8:12 am

Samuel, if the MWP was as warm or warmer than the current period, the current warming was not more than the cooling between MWP and LIA. Thus the same increase in CO2 of 8 ppmv as the drop in CO2 between MWP and LIA…
Except if you prefer Mann’s HS shape: then there was hardly a drop in temperature between MWP and LIA and a huge increase in recent temperature in recent times…

Reply to  Don Perry
January 27, 2015 10:46 am

@ Ferdinand Engelbeen:January 26, 2015 2015 at 8:12 am

Samuel, if the MWP was as warm or warmer than the current period, the current warming was not more than the cooling between MWP and LIA.

Ferdinand, now that was a truly remarkable deduction. Did you thunk it up all by yourself, … or did you have help with it?

Reply to  Don Perry
January 27, 2015 4:50 pm

Samuel, if the changes in temperature were equal, why would a cooling of app. 0.8°C give a drop of 6 ppmv CO2 (with a lag of ~50 years), but a warming of 0.8°C would give an increase of (unfinished) 50 ppmv CO2 in the same ice core? Please elaborate…

masInt branch 4 C3I in is
January 25, 2015 12:08 pm

Recall Gibbs-Duhem equation and the transformations of sediment (snow, very low density) into a sedimentary rock (firn, middle-range densities) and onto a metamorphic rock (glacial ice, high density, though less than carbonate and silicate rocks) and the retrograde metamorphism of glacial ice back to firn (retrograde meta-sedimentary rock) then re-metamorphism back to glacial ice (multi cycle metamorphic rock) with the principle of isostacy in cycles over geologic time.

January 25, 2015 12:19 pm

Well, as expected, here my comment…
1. The resolution
There is an essential error in Ronald Voisin’s reasoning: at the start of bubble closing at sufficient depth (~70 m and deeper, depending of temperature), the average age of the air in the pores is not 20 years (for the high accumulation Law Dome cores), but only 7 years younger than the air at the surface. That is because there is a lot of time for migration during 40 years, which only is reduced when the pores are getting smaller and smaller with increased density of the ice with depth.
Then we have the time needed for fully closing all the bubbles, which is for the Law Dome cores between 72 and 80 meters, adding again a few years to the average, but also with slightly different age in different bubbles. That makes that the average gas age at full closing depth is 10 years younger than the age of the ice itself at the same depth and the gas composition is a mixture of ~10 years of air:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_overlap.jpg
Thus the resolution of the ice core gas composition is much better than expected from the time needed to start bubble closing.
Much depends of the amount of snow accumulation: at closing depth, the gas composition is near the same for all ice cores, no matter the accumulation, but the ice age fully depends of the accumulation rate: 40 years for the 1.2 m ice equivalent/year accumulation at Law Dome to several hundreds of years for Vostok or Dome C where only a few mm/year snow is falling.
The accumulation rate also influences the time needed to fully closing all bubbles. For the high accumulation Law Dome ice cores that leads to a resolution of ~10 years. For Dome C that is ~560 years and for Vostok that is ~600 years.
The drawback of high accumulation is that the number of years of the ice core before reaching rock bottom is shorter: 150 years for Law Dome, 1,000 years for the Law Dome DSS core (taken downslope, ~20 years resolution), 70,000 years for Taylor Dome (~40 years resolution) and 420,000 years, resp. 800,000 years for Vostok and Dome C.
2. The peak detection
The accuracy of ice core CO2 measurements for multiple samples taken at the same part of an ice core by different laboratories is 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma). Samples taken from different ice cores with the same (calculated) gas age differ not more than 5 ppmv from each other.
Any cyclic peak which occurs with a frequency smaller than the resolution will not be detected, as the positives and negatives compensate each other. But any one-way peak which is 2 ppmv or more sustained over the full period of resolution or a one-year peak of twice the resolution in years will be detected.
The current increase is ~110 ppmv over 160 years. Even within the worst resolution ice core (Vostok) a one-way peak of 110 ppmv would be detected as a peak of over 25 ppmv, which is a quarter of the measured glacial-interglacial changes in CO2. Even if the current increase was a part of a natural cycle of over 600 years (there is currently no sign of increase speed reduction), that would be detected in all ice cores…
3. Ice core CO2 migration
There is no direct measurable CO2 migration in ice cores.
One has made several attempts to calculate a theoretical migration: one of the last was by looking at the (coastal) Siple Dome ice core which shows several re-melt layers where nearby CO2 is enhanced. The theoretical migration of this relative “warm” ice core (-22°C) is a broadening of the resolution from 20 to 22 years at middle depth and from 20 to 40 years at full depth (~70 kyear). No big deal. For the cold (-40°C) inland ice cores there is no measurable migration at all over 420 and 800 kyear.
Important is to note that migration of CO2 in ice cores does influence the resolution, but that doesn’t change the average over the resolution period.
4. The stomata data show more peaks
Stomata (index) data are proxies: there are less stomata when the average CO2 level in the previous growing season was higher. The main problem, besides confounding factors, is that these are local CO2 levels over land, not “background” CO2 levels in the atmosphere as is the case for Antarctic ice cores. That means that one can calibrate the stomata index data over the past century against ice core CO2 and direct measurements, but nobody knows how the local CO2 levels changed with land use changes in the main wind direction, including changes of the main wind direction itself over certain periods (MWP-LIA).
Thus while stomata index data have a better resolution than ice cores, the variability is mainly local variability and if the average of the stomata index data differs from the ice cores over the ice core resolution, then the stomata data are certainly biased…
5. The objections of the late Jaworowski
I have looked at the objections of the late Jaworowski. I regret to say that what he wrote is completely outdated since 1996, when Etheridge e.a. published their work on three ice cores at Law Dome. Moreover, some of what he wrote is physically impossible (migration of CO2 from inside the ice core at 180 ppmv to the outside at 380 ppmv)…
See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html
More about ice core measurements:
http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf

tty
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 1:03 pm

“The theoretical migration of this relative “warm” ice core (-22°C) is a broadening of the resolution from 20 to 22 years at middle depth and from 20 to 40 years at full depth (~70 kyear). No big deal.”
Actually this “no big deal” decreased the amplitude of 10 year long CO2 pulse by about 80% and spread it out over approximately a century:
http://www.science.oregonstate.edu/~brooke/Recent_Publications_files/Ahn-et-al-08-JG.pdf

Reply to  tty
January 25, 2015 1:49 pm

That will make most difference at full depth, where the resolution doubled, but hardly any at middle depth. Even so a 10 ppmv peak sustained over 10 years still would be detected as a 2 ppmv peak in the Siple ice core…

Reply to  tty
January 27, 2015 10:56 am

@ Ferdinand Engelbeen:January 26, 2015 2015 2015 at 8:30 am

Samuel, the last peak is the one that differs from the others:

Ferdinand, getta clue, ….. all the peaks are wrong, ….. the above graph I citted is FUBAR.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 2:12 pm

Ferdi,
As I said to Willis: Willis, the good fidelity you speak of can only exist while the atmospheric CO2 is higher than what has been previously recorded. As soon as it reverses, fidelity will be hugely compromised.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 25, 2015 4:36 pm

Ron, there were 8 large warming and cooling phases in the past 800 kyears ice core record. They all show the same ratio and trends of CO2 following the temperature changes. No difference in ratio, only some differences in lag time (far more during cooling than during warming). Seems to me that the ice core record is quite reliable.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 7:46 am

Ferdi, you are making my case. The majority attenuation in each case took place at the outset of recordation.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 7:47 am

If they are “all the same” as this one ….. then they are all wrong, to wit:
http://clas-pages.uncc.edu/mesas/files/2015/01/co2-800k-present.png

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 8:22 am

Engineer Ron, there is no attenuation at all: the same ratio over 8 interglacials, with durations of 5000-10000 years. The lags are about 600 years during a warming period and several thousands of years into a cooler period. There is no measurable lag in the CH4 record. If migration was a problem, CH4 would be more problematic than CO2.

Reply to  Engineer Ron
January 26, 2015 8:30 am

Samuel, the last peak is the one that differs from the others: 110 ppmv above the historical equilibrium for the current temperature. Humans have added about 200 ppmv to the atmosphere. You may be sure that the extra 110 ppmv is not caused by humans, but I haven’t seen any good argument for that: all alternatives I have heard of violate one or more observations…
In short, that is a lost battle and a very bad argument in the climate wars…
The main battle is about the sensitivity of temperature for a CO2 doubling…

mpainter
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 2:29 pm

Ferdinand,
I am not so quick to dismiss Jaworowski who has decades of ice core experience and expertise internationally recognized and who has been poor mouthed by those who poor mouth anyone who does not conform to the cult codes.
In fact, the odds are that any who are vilified by the cult must be correct.

Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 3:08 pm

mpainter, the late Jaworowski may have had a lot of experience, but that ended around 1992, where the work of Etheridge e.a. of 1996 shows that he was wrong on several points.
I lost any confidence in him when he said that CO2 migrates from 180 ppmv within an ice core towards 380 ppmv of outside air and when he “showed” that Neftel “cheated” by an “arbitrary” move of 83 years to align the CO2 in the ice gas bubbles with the Mauna Loa data: he simply looked at the wrong column in Neftel’s table of ice age and gas age.
When I mailed him about that point, he answered that there was no difference between gas age and ice age as all ice cores have re-melt layers which isolate the pores from the atmosphere. Which is simply not true.

Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 3:45 pm

The “Slayers” are correct? Whoda thunkit?

Reply to  mpainter
January 25, 2015 11:53 pm

mpainter January 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Ferdinand,
I am not so quick to dismiss Jaworowski who has decades of ice core experience and expertise internationally recognized …

Jaworowski was an expert, but not about CO2. He was a physicist whose area of expertise was radiation and radiation risks. As far as I’ve been able to find out, he never did any original research regarding ice cores. Instead, he wrote a few papers that made a number of incorrect claims about errors in ice core analysis. I have pointed out some of his errors. Ferdinand has pointed out a number of others, in much greater detail and with a number of citations.
If you disagree with either of us, telling us that “the odds are that any who are vilified by the cult must be correct” is a joke. And telling us (incorrectly) that he has “expertise internationally recognized” does nothing. That’s just an appeal to authority.
If you think we’re wrong, then tell us exactly where you think Ferdinand or I are wrong … and don’t forget to quote the exact words you disagree with so we can understand your objections.
w.

mpainter
Reply to  mpainter
January 26, 2015 11:00 am

Willis
Can’t respond.
The damn WordPress or the moderator had me in limbo.

Scott Scarborough
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 5:25 pm

There is much discussion about local variability of CO2 invalidating plant stoma in these pages. NASA has just put up a satellite to look at local variability of CO2 so as to determine the sources of CO2 in the world. As I remember it, the entire scale of the global plot was a variation of about 10 ppmv! If the entire local variation can be put on a delta 10 ppmv scale how does such a small variability in any way invalidate plant stoma proxies?

Reply to  Scott Scarborough
January 26, 2015 3:13 am

I don’t know the volume of air measured above ground by the OCO-2 satellite (the Japanese satellite measures the whole air column), but the largest CO2 levels over ground are near the surface (1000 ppmv and more) and may change from 550 (and more) ppmv over the first 100 meters (and higher) at night under inversion and 280 ppmv during the day and full photosynthesis.
The NASA satellite only measures around midday, which may give some impression over a year (or years), but that is not a local average.
Local CO2 levels, even averaged over months show large swings (and extremes) and a ~40 ppmv local bias compared to “background” CO2 levels in 95% of the atmosphere. Here for Linden/Giessen (SW Germany), semi-rural, a few km from the original historical site where a long series in the 1940’s was taken:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/giessen_mlo_monthly.jpg

Tony
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 6:28 pm

Why do you think a bubble closing stops diffusion? Put air vs helium in a balloon and wait for a couple of days, to see how gases diffuse through solids.

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Tony
January 25, 2015 8:43 pm

Tony

Why do you think a bubble closing stops diffusion? Put air vs helium in a balloon and wait for a couple of days, to see how gases diffuse through solids.

There are valid arguments and discussions about closing ice bubbles slowly over time due to constantly changing gas levels and temperatures over 10-40 years.
But please, don’t confound those differences with a 2He4 single gas molecule under relatively high differential pressure diffusing through a single closed rubber envelope (compared to a “air” molecule of 80-20 (14N28)2 (molecular weight = 28) and 2(16O32) molecules)!
Even if your comparison were valid, it goes the other way: CO2 (with a single tightly bound molecule of 12 + 16 + 16) is only slightly harder at getting through a crack in the top of an air bubble in ice with a double “air” molecule of either N2 or O2 or Ar, isn’t it?

Tony
Reply to  Tony
January 25, 2015 11:21 pm

RACookPE1978, My point is that if gases can diffuse through the solid walls of a balloon over a couple of days, there will be significant diffusion through solid ice bubble walls over hundreds of years. My point in mentioning helium is simply that rates of diffusion are different and the deflation of a balloon is not simply caused by gases leaking.
Diffusion through solid bubble walls resulting from differences in concentrations of CO2 and other gases will result in reducing differences in gas concentration differences at different levels. That is, CO2 concentrations will appear more uniform over long periods. Ice bubbles do not “lock in” atmospheric gas concentrations.

Reply to  Tony
January 26, 2015 3:37 am

Tony,
There is no migration of CO2 through the ice matrix. There may be some migration through the liquid-like layer between ice crystals (none below -32°C) and through channels caused by impurities, but even that is not measurable.
Theoretical migration in a relative “warm” (-23°C) ice core was a matter of a few centimeters after 70,000 years.
If there was any substantial migration in the much colder (-40 °C) high altitude inland ice cores, then the ratio between CO2 changes and temperature changes (~8 ppmv/°C) would fade with each interglacial back in time each 100,000 years apart. But that is not observed.
BTW rubber and most plastics are not that solid, a Coke PET bottle loses its CO2 after many months. Metals (and ice) have a much lower permeability but even then the smallest molecules like helium and hydrogen may migrate into metals and hydrogen at elevated temperature may remove the carbon in steel (as methane), reducing its strength at high temperatures…

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 5:36 am

Ferdinand

BTW rubber and most plastics are not that solid, a Coke PET bottle loses its CO2 after many months. Metals (and ice) have a much lower permeability but even then the smallest molecules like helium and hydrogen may migrate into metals and hydrogen at elevated temperature may remove the carbon in steel (as methane)

Well, hydrogen as a gas at room temperature does leak directly through steel pipe walls rather quickly (and dangerously) at room temperature and relatively low pressures. Liquid hydrogen not so much, but then the pipe walls are also very, cold and so the pipe wall interstitial distances are closer together. (Liquid hydrogen is also at lower pressures, which helps reduce through-wall leakage. Methane? Never so much leakage as to be critical – though there is some. (Methane is CH4 – so it is only 16 molecular weight. ) Hydrogen embrittlement is a serious problem that must be addressed in every pipe weld by metal selection, weld preheat and post heat treatments, rigorous weld rod coatings and weld rod temperature and humidity controls, and weld bare metal cleanliness and grinding controls.

Reply to  Tony
January 26, 2015 12:05 pm

policycritic, as far as I can see, Jaworowski never mentioned or responded to the findings of Etheridge and others about ice cores in 1996 and later. His 1997 and 2004 writings were near an exact copy of his earlier writings of 1992. Seems quite strange for someone who is an expert in ice cores…
It seems quite difficult to find an independent source of what he has really done on ice cores, his biography at Wiki is one big flame war… But his own c.v. doesn’t mention anything about CO2 in ice cores:
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_sol29.htm

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 6:17 am

@Ferdinand Engelbeen and Willis Eschenbach,
I’m curious. Did Dr. Jaworowski respond to Etheridge’s 1996 findings? Surely, he must have been aware of them since Jaworowski, per his Senate statement, was working on ice cores, or what he calls “glacier findings,” with the “Norwegian Polar Research Institute in Oslo, and in the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo,” and he writes:

In this period I studied the effects of climatic change on polar regions, and the reliability of glacier studies for estimation of CO2 concentration in the ancient atmosphere.

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment.

Reply to  policycritic
January 26, 2015 12:06 pm

Sorry, wrong reply knob: the response is up…

January 25, 2015 12:23 pm

Prof Murry Salby’s your man for this.
One observation is than the instant an icecore is drawn to the surface it outgasses most of the trapped air.
So whereas the O16/O18 in the ice itself is a reasonable proxy for temperature, the measurement of the CO2 in the residual air pockets is clearly going to be very low. In fact one might regard it as a first differential of [CO2] with Time.
Thus the signature of CO2 will tell when it rose or fell but little about actual amounts in the air at the time.
They would have been much much higher. The deeper the icecore the greater amount of trapped air is lost on extraction. We are possibly looking at 10, 20,100x even 1000x more CO2 in the air than that calculated from the air bubbles.

Reply to  Philip Foster (Revd)
January 25, 2015 2:02 pm

Sorry Philip, but Prof. Salby is completely lost on this point. What he says is simply impossible. As said before: migration does lower the differences, but it doesn’t change the average over the period of resolution.
If Salby was right and the peak of the last interglacial of 100 kyear ago was 10 times higher than measured, then the 3000 ppmv (according to Salby) was spread over the rest of the 100,000 years before and after (and that of the second interglacial before too was migrated). That means that the measured 180 ppmv in glacial times was negative, effectively killing near all life on earth (even below 180 ppmv a lot of plants have trouble surviving).
Secondly, migration only stops if all differences are gone. There are 8 similar peaks of around 300 ppmv CO2 over interglacials, each 100,000 years further back in time. If there was huge migration, then the first peak was underestimated with a factor 10, the second a factor 100, and the last of 800 kyear ago was underestimated a factor 10^8. That is more than all directly available carbon on earth, including oceans and carbonate rocks…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 2:19 pm

Ferdi, Someone is lost for sure. Your negative concentration arises only when you think all the CO2 is trapped even in spatially in the wrong place. Philip Foster is correct – the CO2 is lost, not just because of the initial attenuation but due to outgassing when removed from a high-pressure environment to atmospheric pressure.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 2:54 pm

Ron, Prof. Salby was talking about migration of CO2 in the ice core itself, not about loss of CO2 by outgassing…
Theoretically there may be a loss of pressure through cracks or so during relaxation of the ice core after drilling. But I don’t see a preferential escape of CO2 out of the high pressure air bubble in the ice core, to the contrary: CO2 has more affection to water molecules than O2 or N2. The same for decomposing clathrates: N2 and O2 clathrates decompose already at much lower temperatures than CO2 clathrates. Thus if there is loss of air through cracks, it is O2/N2 first, CO2 second, leading to too high CO2 levels, not too low.
Further, after pressure equilibration, if there are cracks in the ice, the migration would be from the outside near 400 ppmv to the inside 180-300 ppmv, not reverse…

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 5:09 pm

“Thus if there is loss of air through cracks, it is O2/N2 first, CO2 second…”
Does not follow. Depends on relative concentration.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 5:43 pm

Bart, if the loss is pure mechanical from the higher inside bubble pressure to the atmosphere, then there is no change in composition. If the loss is slow enough, there is a higher possibility of CO2 remaining in the bubble and/or the cracks as it has a much higher affinity to water or water-like layer at the ice surface than O2 or N2. At measuring time, under vacuum (which removes practically all liquid water), that leads to relative higher CO2 levels, not lower.
Once the internal and external pressures are in equilibrium, the migration is from highest to lowest levels, but as the ice cores all show 180-300 ppmv in the past, and recent to current atmosphere is 380-400 ppmv, any migration is from the outside to the inside, not reverse…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 7:53 am

Ferdi, What makes you think you know what Salby was thinking? He was asserting that the ice-cores are misleading, and they are.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 12:12 pm

Ron, I have been listing several times to his speech in Germany (not easy to follow by times) and was in London to listen to him in person. He really thinks that there is high migration of CO2 in ice cores and therefore the real CO2 levels at the previous interglacial of 100,000 years ago were 10 times (London, 15 times in his German speech) underestimated by the current measurements. Which is physically impossible…

DesertYote
January 25, 2015 12:31 pm

No one seems to be addressing the affects of organic processes on the CO2 distribution. Organic processes could tend to pump CO2 towards the surface, just as nutrients tend to be pumped towards the surface in soils. Of course, research into this is unlikely to be carried out in an unbiased manor considering the political beliefs of those capable of undertaking such research.

joelobryan
January 25, 2015 12:32 pm

The “recordation” would be a mathematical convolution of two functions.
1. The input shape, that is the shape of figure 1. The removal shape would likely be logarithmic decay, strongly influenced by the response times of the sinks (that are always operating.
2. The firn closure diffusion gradient (describe by WE above). Mostly vertical, but near the ice-firn interface becoming non-linear as the bubbles closed and the diffusion coefficient approaches near zero.

Reply to  joelobryan
January 25, 2015 2:12 pm

Joel, there are some bacteria which survive even the -40°C of Vostok and other inland ice cores. But that is not more than survival. They have a mechanism that uses CO2 as carbon source to repair any DNA damage. That results in N2O as rest product. If all N2O found in ice cores was caused by that mechanism, it should give a loss of 0.5 ppmv CO2 at the places with highest bacterial concentration (mostly at highest dust deposits)…
See: http://www.pnas.org/content/101/13/4631.full.pdf
Point K. is about bacteria in the Vostok core…

Reply to  joelobryan
January 25, 2015 4:38 pm

Sorry Joel, was meant for DesertYote…

Bart
January 25, 2015 1:01 pm

“However, do WUWT readers see any problems with this “ideal” characterization of the ice-core recordation process?”
Yes, and a big one, though it appears little appreciated.
If, as the ice cores suggest, CO2 was maintained in a very narrow band for thousands of years, then there had to be a relatively high bandwidth regulatory system keeping it there. Low bandwidth systems do not maintain tight regulation. In a timeline of less than the dominant time constant, they wander, like the particles in a fluid undergoing Brownian motion, with RMS variability evolving as the square root ot time.
A high bandwidth regulatory system would shrug off human inputs as just a tiny perturbation. It is inconsistent to claim high bandwidth and low bandwidth simultaneously. Either the ice core estimates are wrong, or human inputs cannot have a significant effect.

Reply to  Bart
January 25, 2015 1:23 pm

Bart, I choose answer “B.”

Reply to  Bart
January 25, 2015 2:16 pm

Bart, the “high” bandwith needed to show the current human contribution is in the order of 50 years. Slow enough to show natural variations of seasonal to 2-3 years caused by temperature variations and more than fast enough to show a quite linear response of CO2 to temperature of about 8 ppmv/K over periods of 5,000 years (glacial-interglacial transition)…

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 3:14 pm

Nope.

David Socrates
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 3:19 pm

Yup

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 3:22 pm

To clarify for others, Ferdinand is not even addressing the question. This is an issue of regulation, not of observation.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 4:41 pm

Bart, let us say that your interpretation of the regulation doesn’t match the observations (not one of the many observations to be clear). Thus I suppose that your interpretation of the regulation is wrong…

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 5:05 pm

[It] does not appear you understand what I am talking about.

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 5:05 pm

It…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 5:20 pm

Bart are you saying that an e-fold decay rate of 50 years (as currently observed in the atmosphere) for excess CO2 above equilibrium is not fast enough to tie the historical CO2 levels to temperature changes of 0.0024°C/year?

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 28, 2015 11:07 am

I am saying it is not possible for the Earth to be able to regulate CO2 levels to within such a small range over millennia, then be unable to cope with the meager inflows from human activity. It is inconsistent for such a high bandwidth regulatory system to be so sensitive to such a minor disturbance.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 28, 2015 1:55 pm

Bart, that is a matter of time frame: with the observed 50 year e-fold rate it is perfectly possible to let CO2 levels track temperature changes of ~100 ppmv/12°C within a very narrow band over a time frame of 5,000 years. Much faster changes of temperature like seasonal or 2-3 years would give disturbances of the CO2 level in the order of 4-5 ppmv/°C which will go unnoticed in any ice core as the resolution of at least 10 years averages them out. Sustained drops of temperature like the MWP-LIA transition are noticed in the relative high (20 years) resolution downslope ice core of Law Dome as a drop of ~6 ppmv.
The current human emissions exceed the capability of the sinks to remove the excess CO2 in the same year as the emissions. That is what is observed. But the 110 ppmv increase over the past 160 years is by far large and long enough to be noticed in every ice core, even with the worst resolution.

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 28, 2015 2:56 pm

You’re still not getting it, Ferdinand. There are random fluctuations in CO2 input, from droughts to unchecked biological growth, from volcanoes to wildfires, to asteroid strikes to deep sea burps… and more. All of these vagaries feed into the overall level.
The random nature of these inputs would send the atmospheric level off in a widely ranging random walk if the system were not highly regulated with a wideband regulation process. Such tight regulation would also suppress any minor human inputs from significantly affecting things.
You can’t have both – high sensitivity to human inputs and low sensitivity to random, natural inputs. The sensitivity is either high or low for both. A millennium of tightly controlled variation is inconsistent with significant human forcing.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 29, 2015 1:20 am

Bart, you still are not getting it: as long as the random fluctuations are within reasonable borders, they are returning to the temperature dictated equilibrium within the resolution of the measurements.
Most seasonal to short term variations are within that time frame:
– Seasonal changes are about 5 ppmv/°C within months in extra-tropical vegetation in the NH but level off over a year.
– Short term changes caused by El Niño’s, including drought periods in the tropic vegetation are 4-5 ppmv/°C but level off over periods of 2-3 years.
– Current continuous degassing of the equatorial upwelling places are more than compensated by continuous sinks near the poles.
– Volcanic emissions in general are continuous, small (~0.1 GtC/year) and fully absorbed in the current time frame.
What is not in that time frame:
– Huge volcanic emissions over long time frames, like the Deccan traps which did spew lots of CO2 over 10,000’s of years.
– Huge meteor impacts (like Yukatan)
– Longer term changes in deep ocean upwelling
– Human emissions
The current short term (seasonal to 2-3 years) are measureable in direct observations, but not in ice cores.
Long term changes caused by changes in deep ocean upwelling and human emissions are observable both in direct measurements and in ice cores. The former as a continuous following of CO2 after T over millennia, the latter as an increase of CO2 beyond the long term temperature dictated equilibrium between oceans and atmosphere.
The 50 years e-fold decay rate for any disturbance around the long term (deep ocean) temperature equilibrium is not fast enough to level off short term reactions of vegetation on temperature and drought or human emissions. But it is by far fast enough to get CO2 following temperature on glacial – interglacial scales.
The short term reactions on temperature are mainly from vegetation, the reaction of the deep oceans on temperature is much slower. Different processes with different reaction times (filtering) at work.

Bart
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 29, 2015 9:20 am

You don’t get it. Keep watching. Human emissions keep accelerating. CO2 maintains a steady space. Temperatures lead CO2 by 90 deg. There is no doubt about it. This rise is almost entirely natural.

jim2
January 25, 2015 1:07 pm

CO2 generated in ice by organic compound degradation:
http://journals.co-action.net/index.php/tellusb/article/viewFile/16061/17975

Reply to  jim2
January 25, 2015 2:21 pm

Sorry, mostly from carbonates + highly acidic Icelandic volcanic dust, both much less or absent in Antarctic ice cores… Reason why Greenland ice cores are not used for CO2 measurements.

Reply to  jim2
January 25, 2015 2:25 pm

Only in “warm” coastal ice cores: a broadening of the resolution from 20 to 22 years at middle depth and from 20 to 40 years at full depth (60-70 kyears), not measurable in the much colder inland ice cores.

January 25, 2015 1:21 pm

Ice cores, tree rings, tea leaves, and Ouija boards.

Editor
January 25, 2015 2:20 pm

Ronald Voisin – Thanks for your interesting article. I read up to where you ask “do WUWT readers see any problems”, and thought it best if I answered at that point rather than read on and have my mind corrupted (or corrected) by others’ thoughts.. I see two basic problems:
1. When the firn is closing over a say ~40-year period, I believe the assumption is that the air still mixes freely with the atmosphere right up to the moment of closure. ie, that the firn is permeable for the duration. This then implies that the air captured in the ice is 40 years younger than the ice. The reality surely is that the firn is porous for the duration, but not necessarily permeable, ie, some air bubbles will by chance be closed off early. Thus when an ice core is analysed, the trapped air molecules at each depth will come from a period of up to ~40 years, not from a point in time.
2. I believe there is an assumption that the air molecules trapped in the ice cannot migrate. ie, that the air molecules cannot move through ice. When the air-bubble-filled firn condenses into ice, the air bubbles are absorbed into the ice. In the absorption process, the air molecules must travel a distance x into the ice where x must be >0 therwise there would still be an air bubble. So the air molecules must be able to move through ice. That assumption therefore is necessarily incorrect.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 25, 2015 2:39 pm

1. Is right, except that all pores remain open until closing depth, which is at 72 meter and below (depending of temperature). That means that the first bubbles close at 72 m (average 7 years older than atmosphere) the last at ~85 m (10 years later), which gives an average 10 years resolution and an ice-gas difference of ~40 years. The gas composition in the firn (and ice) was measured by Etheridge e.a. top down, layer by layer, until full ice. Both firn/pore gas and fully closed bubbles had the same composition at the same depth.
2. Is not right: the bubbles are not absorbed in the ice, the pores simply are closed by ice crystals as they are reduced in size by the increasing ice pressure above them. The air bubbles remain in place and visible until the pressure is high enough to form clathrates, but that is a different story.

Editor
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 2:52 pm

Thanks. One problem: You say “Both firn/pore gas and fully closed bubbles had the same composition at the same depth”. But they should have different compositions, because the fully closed bubbles would contain air from an earlier year than the firn/pore gas.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 4:49 pm

The measurement is not that fine that individual bubbles can be measured (in the period of drilling ~1995), so still a mixture of different gas bubble ages was measured with a difference of ~8 ppmv over 10 years time, rather small difference where the open pore gas age was measured at 1 meter intervals. Seems both probably too coarse to find a difference at that time…

Editor
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 11:14 pm

We still have a problem. If they can’t separate them for meaurement then they can’t know that firn/pore gas and fully closed bubbles have the same composition.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 1:35 am

Mike, to be more accurate: the average composition of the gas in the still open pores at 1 m intervals and the average composition of the air in the ice core bubbles at the same interval, measured by the same equipment (GC) was within the accuracy of the measurements (1.2 ppmv, 1 sigma) for the measurement accuracy of the 1990’s.
I suppose that the current analytical equipment (total sublimation, mass spectrometer, only 8 grams of ice needed) can give a much finer resolution of the air composition in the ice, but taking representative small samples of the air in the open pores still would be a challenge.

Tony
January 25, 2015 2:41 pm

Ronald,
This paper gives a lot more detail about what is really happening in the firn and below:
http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/2006_articles/IceCoreSprg97.pdf

Reply to  Tony
January 25, 2015 4:58 pm

Really? Most of that was already refuted by the work of Etheridge e.a. in 1996. Either Jaworowski hasn’t read any literature about ice cores after 1992, or he didn’t want to know what others have done in his former field of knowledge.
Sorry, too many severe errors which are physically impossible by the late Jaworowski. Let him rest in peace, together with many of his ideas about ice cores…

whiten
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 25, 2015 8:12 pm

Hello Ferdinand.
You seem to have a good knowledge of ice cores and the ice core data.
In that respect I am interested to learn and know one or two things, provided that you may help.
I am interested about the ice core data regarding the last glacial period, the 100K long period.
The two things I like to know are; how the age of ice is established for the sampling taken and what resolution of sampling used for CO2 data extraction, for the given period in question.
Appreciated.
cheers

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 12:56 pm

Whiten,
Some late reply as there was a lot of discussion…
Most ice core data can be found at
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icecore/current.html
From Dome C there was a high resolution sampling for most of the past glacial period, if I remember wel
Specific, including the sampling resolution and dating for Taylor Dome for part of the period of interest:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/taylor/indermuehle00grl.pdf

prjindigo
January 25, 2015 4:24 pm

Until we have a billion dollar 100 year study to determine if CO2 in the ice is actually representative of the atmosphere at the time, since the only other proxies we have are so inaccurate as to be assumed intentionally contradictory, and whether the conversion from compacted snow to actual ice actually retains the proper ratio or if it simply squeezes out the CO2 increasing the immediate value in the lower levels of compacted snow resulting in a blurring and constant amplified level we’ll not actually get a damned bit of meaningful data out of ice cores to begin with. CO2 doesn’t freeze at all in the atmosphere and is one of the first gasses to respond to any input of energy in the conditions normally prevalent at glaciers because it remains in either a gaseous or soluble state, unlike water and even methane which can freeze within our atmosphere and ocean.
So to even begin to calibrate what the actual level of CO2 in the atmosphere was at the time of snowfall we’d also need to know the temperature, wind speed, cosmic radiation level and amount of sunlight. Four datum we’re exceptionally unlikely to acquire – ever – which influence whether the CO2 stays with the water ice through the process into antiquity.
And now we know that there are years where anywhere between one and fifteen years of data are lost due to melting – which would necessarily change the partial pressures of any trapped gasses below them in the ice.
It’s a crap shoot to begin with – science for science’s sake. Still a better bet than people cooking the world due to cow farts…

Reply to  prjindigo
January 25, 2015 5:07 pm

prjindigo,
Most of your questions were already answered in 1996 by the work of Etheridge e.a.:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/95JD03410/abstract
Unfortunately the full text is only available under subscription…

January 25, 2015 5:23 pm

Not that you plan to cover any of my niggling little doubts regarding ice cores, Ronald, here is my short list.
Your graphs list loose snow, firn and ice as the differing layers. Those layers are according to man’s touch, look and feel.
Snow is deposited in layers over very large areas. Cores are not drilled over very large areas seeking confirmation or even correlation. Yet we are told that ice flows, downhill and away from pressure, giving us a concept that ice, firn and snow are plastic.
The along come the ice core experts who point to a miniscule sample and insist they can identify atmospheric compositions from trapped bubbles.
Solid pure ice is expanded slightly from liquid water and fills volumes based on H2O’s rigid molecular lattice structure hinged on hydrogen bonds with Oxygen. A structure leaving open conduits within pure solid ice with a rough gap of 2.76 angstroms.
Add in impurities, e.g. say dust, sulfur, carbon, bird feces, polar bear debris, seal and Arctic fox debris causing ice to not organize properly.
Carbon dioxide is roughly 3.3-3.4 angstroms in size.
Until ice is pressed into a pure solid there are highways for CO2 to travel.
Ice as coarse fallen snow is certainly not impervious to relatively easy CO2 migration. Just the action of barometric pressure changes will cause the firn and coarse ice to act like a bellows
Ice as firn may look somewhat visibly solid to man, but at a molecular level easily allows CO2 migration. Migration not only in a vertical direction, but definitely along layers.
At what pressure level does ice actually reach a solidity that is somewhat restricts CO2 movement? Whenever, ice core specialists point to ‘bubbles’ in their ice cores, I have doubts that the ice in question ever reached solidity.
Which returns us to, just what has been performed, and replicated, to verify one ice core’s data with multiple ice cores over an area? Sample size, i.e. an area much larger than a football field,, cored in a consistent ordered sampling.

Reply to  ATheoK
January 26, 2015 5:04 am

Have a look at:
http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf
CO2 diffusion stops at an ice density of around 0.85 kg/dm3. That is between 72-90 m depth, depending of temperature or an ice pressure of 6-7 bar.
In general multiple cores are taken at any site (Law Dome: 2 at the summit, 300 m of each other, one downslope at about 20 km from the others), but more important, many cores of quite different sites with enormous differences in accumulation rate, temperature, dust inclusions, etc. all show similar CO2 levels for the same average gas age within +/- 5 ppmv. Here for the past 10000 years:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_010kyr.jpg
The pore diameter of ice is small enough to prevent the escape of CO2 out of the bubbles, but O2 and the smaller noble gases may escape at relaxation time, when the ice is expanding during a year or more at -20°C after drilling, which may give a small error in the O2/N2 ratio, but an important error in O2 isotope ratio. See:
http://icebubbles.ucsd.edu/Publications/closeoff_EPSL.pdf

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 11:39 am

Ferdinand Engelbeen:
Thank you.
Interesting presentation that more or less confirms some of my questions; e.g. firn as being porous.
I have some issues or concerns with the information in the presentation:

Page 4, Slide 2: “Ice-age gas-age difference estimates from δ15N measurements
“…GRIP, Greenland Dependence of linear correlation coefficient (r2) on 2 temperature proxies, δ18Oice and δ15N, on the mean Δage (7800-8780 y B.P.)”

As I read that caption, confirmation CO2 levels are dependent and derived from temperature proxies.

” Page 6, Slide 2: “Advantages/disadvantages of measuring greenhouse gas concentrations in ice core gas bubbles”
Disadvantages:
Must determine gas-age ice-age difference in order to date samples. Δage varies from several to thousands of years.
Uncertainty as high as >1,000 years in deeper records. Gas-age ice-age difference will vary with time (due to changes in T, accumulation rate).
Gradual bubble close off during the transition from firn to ice leads to a smoothing of atmospheric concentrations over time.

The presentation does not address air movement along layers. It is likely that even after vertical CO2 migration is sealed off, movement along layers may be possible; especially is the ice has flowed over shifting land features that cause the ice to flex.
Both the presentation and PDF are based upon models using assumptions.
I note the insistence that Antarctica is assumed free from volcanic influence. Isn’t that an odd assumption now that some 25 volcanoes are identified in West Antarctica?
Using Google Earth one can recognize that the volcanoes in Antarctica are an extension of the ‘Ring of Fire’ volcanic chain surrounding the Pacific.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 1:47 pm

As I read that caption, confirmation CO2 levels are dependent and derived from temperature proxies.
CO2 levels slightly increase in stagnant air near the bottom, about 1% over 40 years, because of its higher weight, compared to N2/O2. The needed correction is derived from the increase in the 15N/14N ratio, as 15N also is increased near the bottom compared to 14N because of its higher specific weight. That is only a relative small correction factor and doesn’t make that CO2 levels are dependent of temperature proxies.
The same isotope ratio of 15N/14N in the gas phase and 18O/16O in the ice phase are used to estimate the difference in age of gas and ice. That is of interest to know the lag of CO2 after T changes, but doesn’t influence the CO2 levels either.
The presentation does not address air movement along layers.
Indeed, but that is not important as the air composition at the same horizontal layer is essentially the same. The horizontal sealing is mainly when all bubbles are fully closed and any ice movements keep the bubbles with the ice flow. The main disadvantage is that with ice flow (and depth) the ice layers are getting thinner and that you need more ice/layers to measure CO2.
Most ice cores are drilled at summits, as there is less ice movement. Exceptions are Vostok and one of the Law Dome cores which were taken on slopes.
Yes they used models, but they compared the models with reality, which showed that the models were not far off.
Despite that all, the timing and age difference between gas and ice still are quite uncertain for the ice cores with small amounts of precipitation and long history. But the importance is only for establishing the lag of CO2 after T changes and doesn’t affect the CO2 measurements themselves.
As far as I know, there is only one active volcano in Antarctica (Mt. Erebus) which is thousands of km from any drilling site. Which doesn’t mean that there can’t be an influence (not direct on CO2 levels), but that should be noted as a dust layer in the ice core record. Dust may influence CO2 levels in the ice if it is quite acidic (as is the case for Icelandic volcanoes) together with carbonate deposits from sea(salt) spray, but in Antarctic ice there is far less carbonate deposit, thus CO2 is less affected even with acidic dust.

Neil Jordan
January 25, 2015 5:40 pm

Another fly in the ointment (or firn) is described in this entry:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/16/younger-dryas-the-rest-of-the-story/
Look for “bioturbation”, which smears annual changes into multi-annual averages. This is a problem for sediments unless the sediments are in anoxic areas. I would see an analogy to bioturbation at the very top, where blowing wind performs the same mixing the top layer of snow as biological mixing of the top layer of sediment.

jonesingforozone
January 25, 2015 6:40 pm

Naturally, CO2 outgasses at the surface of the ocean in response to warming to bring into equilibrium the partial pressure of the dissolved CO2 to the atmospheric concentration.
Also, note that the chemistry texts overstate carbonic acid by a factor of 1000 to simplify the equilibrium equations with for the disassociation with carbonate and bicarbonate ions in sea water. Solving for three variables, ([H2CO3]+aq([CO2])), [HCO3], and [(CO3)2] is an equation with three unknowns, whereas solving for four unknowns is a bit more complicated.
“Although the concentration of CO2(aq) far exceeds that of dissolved H2CO3 (in the order of 10³) we denote the concentration of all dissolved CO2 by [H2CO3]” from – from section 9.2 of CHEMISTRY OF CARBONIC ACID IN WATER.

Reply to  jonesingforozone
January 26, 2015 2:01 am

The combination of CO2 (gas) and carbonic acid is only 1% at the pH of seawater. 90% is bicarbonate and 9% is carbonate. Doesn’t matter much if free CO2 and carbonic acid are lumped together.
The free CO2 is what matters for the ocean surface – atmosphere equilibrium (Henry’s law) and of course the equilibrium reactions between the different carbon forms do change if free CO2 is removed from the oceans or reverse.
What we know from experiments and real world observations is that the air-ocean equilibrium shifts with between 4 and 17 ppmv/°C according to different sources and the historical equilibrium as found in ice cores show a rather linear change of 8 ppmv/°C over the past 800,000 years.

higley7
January 25, 2015 7:40 pm

Jaworowski, one of the leading experts on ice cores and ice core data considers that 30–50% of CO2 is lost from ice cores during the traumatic process of extraction form the depths. If you back calculate the losses, CO2 ends up being the same or seriously higher than they are now. It is stupid and ignorant to consider that CO2 concentrations from ice cores are 100% absolute.

Reply to  higley7
January 26, 2015 12:03 am

higley7 January 25, 2015 at 7:40 pm Edit

Jaworowski, one of the leading experts on ice cores and ice core data …

Jaworowski was nothing of the sort. He was a physicist whose expertise was in radiation. See my comment above, along with Ferdinand Engelbeen’s comments.
Finally, think about the claim that “30–50% of CO2 is lost from ice cores during the traumatic process of extraction form the depths”. Lost by what means? How is that supposed to work? Is the CO2 in the air bubbles lost, but not the rest of the air in the air bubbles? Is the CO2 (at ~180 ppmv) supposed to mix with current air? That would make the CO2 measurement larger, not smaller. How could they “lose” CO2 but not air?
I fear your claim just doesn’t make physical sense.
w.

richardscourtney
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 2:11 am

Willis Eschenbach
I refer you to my refutation of your insults to the late, great ‘Zeb’ J. which I posted above here.
Richard

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 2:22 am

Willis, you are walking on thin ice here. Stick to arguing Jaworowski’s ideas rather than questioning his expertise. How many times has your “expertise” been questioned…

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 8:05 am

Heavens Wills…lost to atmosphere. You have an untouched sample at depth at 100’s and to 1000’s of psi. You bring a core sampler to it. Long before you even get to it, long before you drill it, long before you extract it to the surface, but throughout all these, it’s been depressurized and is degassing to atmosphere. And preferentially doing so at the highest gradients…at the peaks of CO2 recordation.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 11:41 am

Engineer Ron January 26, 2015 at 8:05 am Edit

Heavens Wills…lost to atmosphere. You have an untouched sample at depth at 100’s and to 1000’s of psi. You bring a core sampler to it. Long before you even get to it, long before you drill it, long before you extract it to the surface, but throughout all these, it’s been depressurized and is degassing to atmosphere. And preferentially doing so at the highest gradients…at the peaks of CO2 recordation.

Some of the bubbles are certainly lost to the atmosphere. But many others are not. In addition to cracking the ice core also flexes and expands. Remember, it is not being exploded. It is simply expanding back to its original uncompressed state. As a result, there are many, many bubbles still enclosed in the sample when it gets to the surface. Those bubbles are not released until the ice is shaved in the laboratory and their CO2 content is measured.
So, does the ice crack as it comes up? Of course. Are there still untouched bubbles containing uncontaminated gas? You bet. Here’s a photo showing both things going on:comment image
Next, Ron, your explanation doesn’t explain why all of the ice core CO2 measurements are LOWER than current levels. Even if the cracking were to have replaced the air in every bubble with current air, we’d get current levels. What is your explanation for the lower levels found?
Finally, why is there such good agreement between all of the ice cores? Look again at my graphic above. If your explanation were correct, we’d see answers all over the map, because the gas in the ice core bubbles would have been polluted by the modern higher levels.
But we don’t see that. Instead, we see good agreement both in modern times (as I showed in my graphic) and in geological times.
Regards,
w.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 11:44 am

The Pompous Git January 26, 2015 at 2:22 am Edit

Willis, you are walking on thin ice here. Stick to arguing Jaworowski’s ideas rather than questioning his expertise. How many times has your “expertise” been questioned…

Thanks, Git. I wasn’t making an “ad hominem” attack. Instead, I was merely responding to the “appeal to authority” fallacy inherent in the claim that Jaworowski was “one of the leading experts on ice cores and ice core data”.
w.

Reply to  higley7
January 26, 2015 8:48 am

@ higley7

30–50% of CO2 is lost from ice cores during the traumatic process of extraction form the depths.

I could agree with that estimate.
Just the mechanics of “drilling” the ice core would relieve the horrendous lateral pressure on the core itself. Iffen ya drill into a confined “pocket” of NG … ya better have a good hold on the “drill stem”.
And iffen those ice core are not completely sealed off before being lifted to the surface the decrease in air pressure would surely cause an outgassing of CO2.
Those trapped CO2 “bubbles” would attempt to act like a weather balloon as it ascends into the high atmosphere.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 26, 2015 2:18 pm

Samuel, have you read any work on ice cores that confirms the 30-50% loss of CO2 from the bubbles, besides of what Jaworowski wrote? And why only a CO2 loss? If there are cracks during expansion of the ice at relaxation after drilling, then these will loose some compressed air, not alone CO2 – to the contrary – and ultimately get the same CO2 levels of the environment, not much lower levels as measured.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 27, 2015 11:09 am

@ Ferdinand Engelbeen:January 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm

If there are cracks during expansion of the ice at relaxation after drilling, then these will loose some compressed air, not alone CO2 – to the contrary – and ultimately get the same CO2 levels of the environment, not much lower levels as measured.

Ferdinand, whatta yu trying to tell me, ….. that they measure the CO2 in those ice cores … BEFORE they drill and lift them out of the glacier?
And just how do they perform that “trick”?

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 27, 2015 5:15 pm

Samuel, Jaworowski is the man who said that 30-50% of all CO2 was lost by drilling and relaxation, not me. He doesn’t give one shred of evidence for his claim and as far as I know, he hasn’t done any work on CO2 in ice cores, not before, during or after drilling.
All what I know from chemistry and diffusion gives the opposite answer of what Jaworowski said.
Anyway, I am eager to learn: if you have any good arguments which show that Jaworowski may be right that CO2 is preferentially lost from the inside air via cracks into an outside atmosphere which is richer in CO2, I like to know that mechanism.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 29, 2015 4:37 am

Ferdinand Engelbeen January 27, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Anyway, I am eager to learn: if you have any good arguments which show

Iffen I had had a mouth full of coffee when I read that I would have splurted it out all over my PC.
Ferdinand, the only thing you are eager to do is “change-the-subject” when confronted by a naysayer of your commentary by injecting something “new, different & unrelated” to get your opponent off track ….. so that you can continue on “pushing your agenda”,
And that’s a fact.
I mean like, just what the ell does Jaworowski’s claims, credentials or expertise have to do with my above statement to you @ January 27, 2015 at 11:09 am?

Julian Braggins
January 26, 2015 3:47 am

A lateral observation from this discussion; the dust layers in ice cores are accepted it seems by all, are caused by cold dry periods with higher winds, no doubt caused by a higher temperature gradient from tropics to poles with cooling.
So how is it that climate change, global warming, weather wierding, are blamed for causing more severe weather events when tropic to poles temperature gradient is reducing by the purported warming of the poles?

Reply to  Julian Braggins
January 26, 2015 5:10 am

I am pretty sure the “global weather wierding” only exists in the fantasy of climate models, which can’t even predict temperature, precipitation, cloud cover,… over a period of 20 years, let it be in 2050 or 2100…

rgbatduke
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 12:02 pm

Hi Ferdinand,
I know it is late in the discussion, but could you look at the graph I posted pretty far up there and comment? It’s at:
January 26, 2015 at 8:39 am
I actually have come to trust your laying out the science here as you either really know what you are talking about or you are really, really good at faking it…;-)
Some part of this you may have already answered. If (many of the) bubbles remain open to the atmosphere for ~30 to 40 years that might explain why Laws is in agreement with Mauna Loa, but only if somebody “cheated” in some way and selected bubbles that were closed and eliminated bubbles that gave the wrong answer, right? Basically what you are saying is that one can’t use a core less than 30 or 40 years old to normalize your proxy against Mauna Loa, because the bubbles are either a) still open and in equilibrium with the present or b) closed at some unknown time over the last 30-40 years and hence represent a non-uniform mix of concentrations depending on when EACH sampled bubble closed. Only when you get to where all of the bubbles are sealed to you get a consistent “record”, and even then at any given depth it is going to contain a mix of air that was finally sealed into bubbles across a range of years.
I’d love your comments, however, on the illustrated variance and trend in the Laws (and Siple) data pre-1955, followed by the near-miraculous correspondence between Laws, Mauna Loa, and the last data point in Siple.
rgb

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
January 26, 2015 3:34 pm

RGB,
Thanks, as always I enjoy your contributions as well thought and readable…
I see that Willis already has done all the work…
Some additions: Siple Dome measurements were done early 1980’s in the early times of ice core drilling, including the problems inherent with using new techniques. There were several parts of the core with cracks where drilling fluid was found and for small adjacent parts of the ice core enormous differences in CO2 levels. The researcher (Neftel) rejected the high readings and only retained the lowest readings. I should have rejected all samples of that part of the ice…
Anyway the error margin of Siple is much higher: from a few ppmv to +/- 25 ppmv range for some parts of the ice core – and more where drilling fluid was found.
The repeatability of Law Dome measurements for multiple samples at the same part of the core was 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma), a lot better…
Etheridge measured 95 Law Dome samples, of which 11 results were rejected: 2 because of post drilling partly melt of the sample, the others for various problems with the equipment (vacuum line, grating, GC,…).
The bubble closing process doesn’t start until the firn pressure is high enough to reach a density of 0.83-0.85 kg/dm3. That is at about 72 m depth for Law Dome. Then it takes another several years/meters to seal al bubbles. The average age difference between bubbles sealed at different depths is not that great, as migration (via residual pore diameter) is restricted with increased density. So no need to choose the right bubble, as anyway you need a lot of bubbles to have enough CO2 for the measurement…
Thus indeed you need at least 40-50 years old ice, but that contains bubbles of average ~10 years older than the atmosphere. Thus a core drilled in 1990 has ice which is 40-50 years old but air of average 1980 and thus can compared to direct air measurements of 1980…
For other ice cores like Vostok, the “newest” ice is already already thousands of years old and as the complete sealing also needs several thousands of years, the air it contains is average pre-industrial…
The Law Dome sweetly moves into the Mauna Loa record without any manipulation: they simply used the measurements and normal corrections (for enhanced levels of the heavy isotopes and molecules near the bottom of stagnant air) and compared the results with the South Pole CO2 data. That confirmed the model they used to calculate the ice age – gas age difference, which is the most problematic part of any ice core. A small error in the difference would show up as too high or too low CO2 levels compared to Mauna Loa at the same “age”.

Editor
January 26, 2015 12:49 pm

It seems I’ve caused a bit of a firestorm by my description of Dr. Jaworowski as a “crackpot”, so let me retract that statement entirely, root and branch.
A more accurate description would be that he was an eminent and well-respected scientist in his own field, which was that of radiation and its transport and health effects, but that his ideas about ice cores were demonstrably wrong. In addition, once the ideas were demonstrated to be wrong by other scientists, he clung to them nonetheless.
As an example, to the end of his life Jaworowski claimed that there was no difference between the age of the ice and the age of the air enclosed in the bubbles in the ice. Now, our guest author has just given us an excellent explanation of exactly why the ice age is different than the air age, complete with well-drawn diagrams illustrating the physical processes involved.
And other than from Jaworowski, there is little scientific disagreement on that point … but despite that, and despite the scientific work of Etheridge laying out the specific details of the process, Jaworowski refused to accept that the air trapped in the ice was not exactly the same age as the ice itself.
Which is why I pay no attention to Jaworowski’s claims.
Look, folks, there are lots of perfectly valid reasons to question the theory that CO2 is the secret master control knob on the temperatures. And there are even valid questions about the ice core data, like the somewhat circular nature of the calculation of the ice age/air age value … but Jaworowski’s claims aren’t among them. Not everyone who disagrees with the hypothetical “97% consensus” is right …
w.

rgbatduke
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 2:34 pm

Sorry, continuing the ice core discussion from far above here because the discussion above is at too great a nesting for the reply button to appear:
Source for the emission data? I assume that this is the anthropogenic emission data as opposed to all sources, as well. Also, what are you plotting from Laws — the raw points? I’m plotting the spline distributed in law2006.txt, which if anything should smooth the raw data. Offhand the spline doesn’t really seem to agree with your plot of the raw data, but of course I’ll have to overlay the two to understand that. In particular, the timing of the great depression, world war II, and the decrease in atmospheric CO_2 are off by at least a decade.
This leads once again to fluctuation-dissipation and through this to the Bern model. As far as I can see, there is absolutely no way to feed the data you show into the Bern model and have decreasing CO_2 anywhere, ever come out. Unless, of course, there are time dependent changes in its parameters which are not in the model (that is, unless the model is incomplete). The extra CO_2 should have a residence time that is very, very long, and the system shouldn’t have been able to reach equilibrium, let alone decrease, while humans continued to add CO_2 across even the great depression.
So one has to ask — (what) can one infer (about) the actual relaxation time(s) from some mix of Laws and the emission data? Also, what are the uncertainties on the emission data, and how is this estimated? There are some curiosities in this — for example, US production of coal peaked in 1944 at 683 million tons, a figure that was not exceeded until 1974 and over twice the production during the great depression. In Germany, over half of its gasoline and almost all of its aviation fuel were synthesized from coal at the same time the coal was used to drive its industrial production, the former at a horrible trade-off in total energy consumed (one has to burn the coal to electrolyze the water to make the hydrogen to bond to the carbon, all at high temperature and with major thermodynamic losses). This production continued from the late 30’s until the Allies bombed their synfuel plants in mid-late 1944 and 1945.
So it’s not that I’m cynical or anything, but following your own requests at the head of all of your posts please cite your source for this so I can look at the data for myself.
rgb

Reply to  rgbatduke
January 26, 2015 6:41 pm

rgbatduke January 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Sorry, continuing the ice core discussion from far above here because the discussion above is at too great a nesting for the reply button to appear:

Yeah … I wish the format were wider with more nesting, OR no nesting.

Source for the emission data? I assume that this is the anthropogenic emission data as opposed to all sources, as well.

The emissions data is from CDIAC, and includes land use change, also from CDIAC. Hang on … OK, the emissions data is here, and the LULC data is here.

Also, what are you plotting from Laws — the raw points? I’m plotting the spline distributed in law2006.txt, which if anything should smooth the raw data. Offhand the spline doesn’t really seem to agree with your plot of the raw data, but of course I’ll have to overlay the two to understand that. In particular, the timing of the great depression, world war II, and the decrease in atmospheric CO_2 are off by at least a decade.

I’m using the data from ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/law/law_co2.txt … which now appears to be a dead link … grrr, I hates it when they pull data like that. Looks like your data is newer than mine in any case.

This leads once again to fluctuation-dissipation and through this to the Bern model. As far as I can see, there is absolutely no way to feed the data you show into the Bern model and have decreasing CO_2 anywhere, ever come out. Unless, of course, there are time dependent changes in its parameters which are not in the model (that is, unless the model is incomplete). The extra CO_2 should have a residence time that is very, very long, and the system shouldn’t have been able to reach equilibrium, let alone decrease, while humans continued to add CO_2 across even the great depression.

Yeah, that’s one reason why I disagree with the Bern model, which seems extremely un-physical to me. Along with Jacobson, I put the e-folding time much shorter, at somewhere around 35 years. In any case, the ices cores taken as a total don’t seem to me to indicate a decrease in atmospheric CO2. Here’s my data again:comment image
I wouldn’t call the totality of the ice core data around 1945 a reduction.

So one has to ask — (what) can one infer (about) the actual relaxation time(s) from some mix of Laws and the emission data? Also, what are the uncertainties on the emission data, and how is this estimated? There are some curiosities in this — for example, US production of coal peaked in 1944 at 683 million tons, a figure that was not exceeded until 1974 and over twice the production during the great depression. In Germany, over half of its gasoline and almost all of its aviation fuel were synthesized from coal at the same time the coal was used to drive its industrial production, the former at a horrible trade-off in total energy consumed (one has to burn the coal to electrolyze the water to make the hydrogen to bond to the carbon, all at high temperature and with major thermodynamic losses). This production continued from the late 30’s until the Allies bombed their synfuel plants in mid-late 1944 and 1945.

Good question. The source document says:

Publications containing historical energy statistics make it possible to estimate fossil fuel CO2 emissions back to 1751. Etemad et al. (1991) published a summary compilation that tabulates coal, brown coal, peat, and crude oil production by nation and year. Footnotes in the Etemad et al.(1991) publication extend the energy statistics time series back to 1751. Summary compilations of fossil fuel trade were published by Mitchell (1983, 1992, 1993, 1995). Mitchell’s work tabulates solid and liquid fuel imports and exports by nation and year. These pre-1950 production and trade data were digitized and CO2 emission calculations were made following the procedures discussed in Marland and Rotty (1984) and Boden et al. (1995). Further details on the contents and processing of the historical energy statistics are provided in Andres et al. (1999).
The 1950 to present CO2 emission estimates are derived primarily from energy statistics published by the United Nations (2013), using the methods of Marland and Rotty (1984). The energy statistics were compiled primarily from annual questionnaires distributed by the U.N. Statistical Office and supplemented by official national statistical publications. As stated in the introduction of the Statistical Yearbook, “in a few cases, official sources are supplemented by other sources and estimates, where these have been subjected to professional scrutiny and debate and are consistent with other independent sources.” Data from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Geological Survey (USGS 2012) were used to estimate CO2 emitted during cement production. Values for emissions from gas flaring were derived primarily from U.N. data but were supplemented with data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (1994), Rotty (1974), and data provided by G. Marland. Greater details about these methods are provided in Marland and Rotty (1984), Boden et al. (1995), and Andres et al. (1999).

As to how accurate that makes it, well, it’s likely as good as anything else in climate, which is to say pretty decent but not great.

So it’s not that I’m cynical or anything, but following your own requests at the head of all of your posts please cite your source for this so I can look at the data for myself.

And rightly so, my friend, rightly so.
As always, it’s a pleasure to have your comments.
w.

Reply to  rgbatduke
January 27, 2015 11:52 am

In reference to graph @ Willis Eschenbach: January 26, 2015 at 6:41 pm

I wouldn’t call the totality of the ice core data around 1945 a reduction.

I am also curious about that dip (reduction) in CO2 …. circa 1938 thru 1945.
Especially given the fact that there had to have been “tens of billions of tons” of sequestered CO2 emitted into the atmosphere as a result of all the bombings, burnings and “firestorms” that occurred in England, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia and the Pacific theaters during said 7 years of War.
To wit:

Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report.
Ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28457104

Reply to  rgbatduke
January 27, 2015 11:57 am

OOPS, …… I messed up the “end” blockquote at the get-go.
[Fixed … w.]

mpainter
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 26, 2015 2:46 pm

Willis
It’s clear that you still have not taken trouble to inform yourself about Z. Jaworoski.
He was an expert on ice core analysis and a pioneer in that field and this includes CO2.
That is why he was invited to testify before Congress on the subject of CO2 extraction from ice cores, which see.
So, get up to speed on this distinguished scientist and quit saying that he was not knowledgeable in the subject of ice cores and CO2.

Reply to  mpainter
January 27, 2015 1:07 am

mpainter, I have been looking for his real expertise in ice cores, but didn’t find any. His expertise was clearly in radiation and health from radiation. There are some hints that he organized a few expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic, but again it seems mainly to look for metal (ion) deposits and migration in ice, not about CO2.
If you have more detailed information that he was an expert of CO2 in ice cores, I would like to see that cleared. As far as I can see now, his expertise on that subject was just theoretical and because of the many unphysical assumptions also completely wrong…

Reply to  mpainter
January 27, 2015 1:07 am

mpainter, I fear that whether a man testifies before Congress means nothing. I mean, James Hansen has testified before Congress, as has Al Gore … does that somehow convert them into “experts”?
I have listed above some of Jaworowski’s more egregious mistakes. Ferdinand Engelbeen has listed others. I’ve asked you or anyone to show he was right regarding the issues we identified. To date, neither you nor anyone has done so.
For example, as I showed above, Jaworowski doesn’t believe that there is a difference between ice age and air age. He called that idea a “lie”.
Now, Ron Voisin in the head post gave us a complete explanation of the physical process whereby the ice age ends up being different from the air age, complete with illustrations … are you saying Voisin is wrong, and everyone else who has studied the ice age-air age question is wrong?
Because that’s exactly what Jaworowski says, and that’s just one of his many errors. I discussed other of his errors here.
So I fear that saying he was a “pioneer in the field” means nothing. I looked, and looked hard, for some examples of any independent research that he did on CO2 in ice cores. And I&#